West Coast Gem (Acoustic Sessions at Sinclair’s Gully)
Sunday, 20 February 2022
Adelaide Fringe

The spirit of debut

One of the joys of Adelaide Fringe provides are the opportunities for emerging artists.

As part of its spirit of egalitarianism, this is a festival that is open to all artists no matter where they are in their career trajectory.

So it was a delight and a privilege to be among the audience in the natural ampitheatre at Sinclair’s Gully Winery at Norton Summit as part of their Acoustic Session series to hear Adelaide-based Wirangu singer-songwriter Kenneth Wilson make his debut Fringe performance.

While Sunday’s acoustic performance was Wilson’s first solo show, he is no stranger to the stage having supported fellow Adelaide-based singer-songwriter, mentor and close friend Glenn Skuthorpe at gigs around town.

From the opening song My Ancestry, inspired by his first journey to country, it is apparent that Wilson’s Wirangu heritage is a vital part of his heart and outlook with the Dreaming stories providing a strong influence to his writing.

Sinclair Gully’s Winery might be a long way from Wirangu country, it was apparent quite early during the performance that spirit was alive and well as the candlebark forest backdrop and the black cockatoo song provided a fitting accompaniment to Wilson’s music. It all combined to create an atmosphere that was just pure magic. This was an emotional performance.

However Wilson is also prepared to bring us all back to the 21st century with his commentary on the issues impacting many First Nations communities including alcoholism, racism and incarceration through such works as My Soul and Follow Your Dreams. This is the power of music.

Whenever there is music, love is never far away and Wilson ponders on the people who come into your life and help you through the hard times through love with the beautiful Sweet Memories.

So it was fitting that ultimately this was an afternoon about friends and family, with Wilson supported my close pals Skuthorpe and Hawker-based Nurungga Adnyamathanha country music singer-songwriter Warren Milera. Wilson, is a skilled raconteur who was more than happy to share to the audience stories of his life including how these musical brothers in arms came into each other’s lives.

Music influences were also revealed through Wilson’s choices of cover songs that were interspersed through the set including Stand By Me, Under the Boardwalk, Brown Eyed Girl, Hotel California and Country Roads. These golden tunes provided the audience with a chance to sing along and to celebrate in the joy of art.

There is talk about the possibility of a CD on the way and I for one hope that this becomes a reality and we get to hear more of Wilson and his thoughts on life and creativity.

– Fontella Koleff

West Coast Gem (Acoustic Sessions at Sinclair’s Gully), Adelaide Fringe.
Season closed.

Acoustic Sessions at Sinclair’s Gully, Adelaide Fringe
Saturday, 26 February at 2pm
Sunday, 13 February at 2pm

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