Monday, April 14, 2014

'Bilarni' House Concert with Jan Wositzky 2014

We opened up our house for a house concert on the weekend. Storytelling friend Jan Wositzky has a new show and a small invited audience came along for a preview. I can think of no better use for our capacious sunroom!

Jan has been researching and writing about Australian author, bushman and raconteur Bill Harney for twenty years. The result is a one-man storytelling show. For 70 minutes, Jan weaves personal anecdote, song and recitations of transcribed oral texts into a tale that is moving, funny, absurd, raw and at times tragic. 

Bill Harney ‘Bilarni’ (1895 – 1962) was born of
English parents and grew up in Queensland. At 12 he took off droving and what followed was a rich and richly recorded life. Largely self-educated, he was poetically articulate and throughout the 40s 50s, in Australia, his voice was heard and his stories familiar on radio, and his books devoured. Bill Harney was famous in his day and remains a legend in Queensland and the Northern Territory where his relationships with Aboriginal people ran deep.

In ‘Bilarni’ Jan examines the man and the myth; the story as he tells it is neither sentimental nor uncritical. He brings great depth to the telling with
rich layers of information, multiple Aboriginal languages, Australian dialects, and ‘Englishes’ superb evocations of characters that could only be encountered in the north of this continent. Jan’s musicality is evident throughout, particularly so when it comes to the mastery of Harney’ rhythmical speech patterns. Lovers of language and literature will be seduced by Harney’s depth of feeling and perceptions, expressed so eloquently. This a storytelling at its best!

‘Bilarni’ will be enjoyed by anyone who loves a good yarn and a wild ride.

Sign up for Jan's e news HERE
Facebook HERE
Catch the show at the National Folk Festival Saturday 19 April HERE

Friday, April 11, 2014

Storytelling in Bacchus Marsh

What a way to end the week!
It’s raining in Melbourne – at last. It’s been dry, dry, dry for months.

Today I headed out of the city to a small town called Bacchus Marsh, about an hour away on the M8. Its school holidays and I was expecting to tell stories to a group of primary age children. My storyteller’s instincts kicked in and I packed my story box, the full kit and caboodle. When booked by a library, expect the unexpected. My listeners were aged between 6months and 5 years of age. I dumped the shark jaws in the car (great story to go with by the way), threw away my plans and rejigged the brain.

I had a wonderful time with the children, their families and carers. I can recommend Montomery Kelly’s book Out of the Storyteller’s Hat. This book is a treasure trove of ideas for stories and songs for the very young,

 pic: I had to pull over an take a photo of the Avenue of Honour. This is the entrance to Bacchus Marsh - majestic and moving.


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