Review | ‘Kalyakoorl, Ngalak Warangka’ at Perth International Cabaret Fest

Kalyakoorl, Ngalak Warangka | His Majesty’s Theatre | ★ ★ ★ ★

Descending deep below His Majesty’s Theatre into a cavern of cabaret, Noongar singer Gina Williams and guitarist Guy Ghouse played to a packed lounge, an impressive feat considering that it’s a school night! Taking the eager audience on a journey where music transcends and language isn’t a barrier to us connecting and sharing experiences together.

Having opened the Perth International Cabaret Festival, the joyous Gina Williams sang and spun yarns, while the steadfast and silent Guy Ghouse let his guitar do the talking. The set was informed by four principles; Koort (Heart), Moort (family and the people we choose as family), Boodja (land) and Koorlangka (children and legacy). These chapters were a celebration of what we share and the importance of keeping culture alive, Williams reminds us that we’re here because we were always meant to be here.

It was an intimate evening of original songs in language, complete with a translated reinterpretation of The Church’s Under the Milky Way, and as unexpected surprise the crowd was treated to a sneak preview of the next great Noongar Opera The Story of Koorlbardi (Magpie) and Wardong (Crow) a ballad about brotherhood and change.

The true Koort (Heart) of the show was the poignant stories between songs, each told with charm and spirit. Inspirational moments about about overcoming early detractors and struggling with anxiety. Lighthearted yarns about the real essence of the Djidi-Djidi (Willie Wagtail). Then ultimately being strong enough to share her personal history as a child who is the product of the Stolen Generations and proving that with love and caring the cycle of inter-generational trauma can end.

The healing power of language was on full display with two passionate and talented performers working in harmony. Williams and Ghouse teach us that our past informs our present, and the lessons we learn have the power to create history.

Lincoln Russell

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