★★★★½ A moving lunchtime celebration and fusion of cultures.

City Recital Hall
March 1, 2016

Didgeridoo virtuoso William Barton opened the first of City Recital Hall’s 2016 A Little Lunch Musicconcerts with a short solo acknowledging the traditional owners of the land. Coaxing the sound of wind, kookaburras and furtive rustling from his instrument, he soon launched into a vibrant pulse of complex rhythms and changing metre. Titled The Journey, this concert was a playful fusion of cultures and musical traditions. Barton’s mother, Aunty Delmae Barton, joined him for the second work, her voice a stirring chant, arms outstretched, while her son’s didgeridoo growled beneath with rising and falling intensity.

Barton switched to guitar for a composition dedicated to his mother, ten years after she collapsed at a bus shelter in Queensland. Barton’s vocals were a wordless howl, and he soon added the rumble of the didgeridoo to his strumming, effortlessly synchronising the two instruments. Barton and his mother shared the stage comfortably, their mutual affection obvious in their music and manner. Delmae Barton’s Dreamtime Operaalternated haunting vocals with spoken-word recitative, musing on the journey of life and the nature of dreams.