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Art For Charity

Art for Charity, Polish Club, Canberra. Sat 22nd Aug, 2015

Dear Editor,

The following is my ‘graft’ review of the Art for Charity event at the Polish Club held on Saturday the 22nd of August.

Being a visitor to Canberra, I was unacquainted with the local arts & music scene, so I attended the Art for Charity event at ‘the Polo’ with great interest.

The poetry portion of the night was beginning when I arrived. The first performer, Zoe Anderson, seemed unassuming when she first stood up, but when she spoke her words flowed with a way of drawing you in to the narrative that she was creating.

Judging from his introduction Andrew Galan, who followed, is a local scene institution. The highlights of his set were his riff piece on carpets and the emotionally engaging ‘Enjoying rides in police cars’.

Melinda Smith and Alison Plevey’s poetry and dance collaboration was an interesting combination which I felt gelled together best with the final piece, ‘Red Language’. The use of a parallel dance vocabulary to the lyric content of the poem created something that was greater than the sum of its parts.

The presentation and documentary about the Cisarua learning centre brought to light the work being done by some compassionate people and it was uplifting to hear their story, which was aptly described as “humans helping humans” by Owen Campbell who took the stage afterward. Looking every bit the part, he laid down a slide guitar groove that sounded like there was more than just one player up there.

It was an impressive performance that had a small group at the front of the hall up and dancing along. For me his east/west fusion track ‘Hindu Blues’ stood out among a set full of enjoyable songs, enough so that I was moved to buy one his CDs on my way out.

If this collection of performers is an indication of what Canberra has to offer I will eagerly check out what else I can next time I am in town. Especially if they are at this venue, because that Polish beer was pretty good too.

Regards
Tarquin Carlin

Mikelangelo, Cave – Waits – Cohen

Mikelangelo, Cave –  Waits – Cohen. Polish White Eagle, Sunday 16th Aug, 2015
by Stephen Harrison

I’m always in awe of performers. The ability and confidence to get up in front of a crowd of people and belt out songs, not knowing how the audience is going to react, I find extraordinary. Mikelangelo is one such performer: absolutely extraordinary.

To start off: he looks good, snappy suit (reminiscent of Elvis on black and white TV), coif like a wave, and a great mover. Then there’s the voice. I must admit I’m partial to the deep voices from male singers- not a big fan of falsettos. Mikel’s is a deep, rich, chocolaty baritone. The songs he was singing at the Polish club were a great medley of Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, and Australian Nick Cave. Three of my favourite acts – I never miss the chance to see Mr. Cave, in all his incantations from Bad Seeds to Grinderman and solo stuff, it’s all good. I’d jump at the chance to see the others, too – especially Tom Waits, who hasn’t been to Australia since the seventies (I hear). And Waits has a wonderful version of our Waltzing Matilda, referencing our blood and whisky soaked past, inspired by his visit here: so he should come back.

Like Mikelangelo, these men are brilliant performers, and consummate song writers. It’s so good to hear old tunes like Sad Waters by Cave again – these melancholy old songs really endure. Like an idiot, I didn’t bring a pen and paper to note more songs down, but suffice it to say a nice balance of heartfelt and up beat songs were sung. There’s been a few tragic deaths of artists of late, and Mikelangelo made reference to them, tying them into songs, and giving them added poignancy.

Musicians such as Mikelangelo are who we have in our midst, and we should be way supportive of this world-class act. When you see him, buy a CD, or a vinyl: this ensures we’ll get to see him again. Altogether a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining evening.