Paul Kelly: Australia’s bard on Shakespeare

Paul Kelly gives one of his versions of Shakespeare's sonnets a spin for the Saturday afternoon audience. Photo: SCU/Kaleb Smith
Paul Kelly gives one of his versions of Shakespeare’s sonnets a spin for the Saturday afternoon audience. Photo: SCU/Kaleb Smith

 

 

Australian treasure, songwriter Paul Kelly’s only session at the Byron Writers Festival site involved a man, a guitar, a full tent and the bard.

Kelly’s latest project, Seven Sonnets and a Song puts the poems of William Shakespeare to music and was released on 2016’s 400-year anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. There’s just one non-Shakespearian piece on the mini-album,  My True Love Hath My Heart, which was written by Shakespeare’s contemporary Sir Philip Sidney. It is sung on the recording by Vika Bull.

Paul Kelly in discussion with session chair Sarah Kanowski. Photo: SCU/Kaleb Smith
Paul Kelly in discussion with session chair Sarah Kanowski. Photo: SCU/Kaleb Smith

Kelly took up his guitar to perform several of the sonnets during his hour-long discussion with ABC RN host Sarah Konowski. He has said in the past that Shakespeare is his favourite author and that the Elizabethan playwright’s sonnets were ‘dense’ but had a lot of metric parallels with the modern pop song.

Kelly’s earliest encounters with Shakespeare were in high school when he studied Macbeth, and then Hamlet.

It wasn’t only the sonnets that received a spin during Saturday afternoon’s session at the Festival. One of the songs Kelly played was Everything’s Turning to White, a song he wrote based on a Raymond Carver short story and the song on which the Australian film Jindabyne is based.

Paul Kelly: How To Make Gravy. Photo: SCU/Natalie Foord
Paul Kelly: How To Make Gravy. Photo: SCU/Natalie Foord

Paul Kelly had performed the Seven Sonnets & A Song the night before in concert at Byron Theatre as part of the Festival’s feature events program to a full house. Kelly has also written his memoir, How To Make Gravy and released more than 20 albums.

Report by Southern Cross University Reporters.

 


Southern Cross University Reporters


One comment

  • Lily Bird

    August 10, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    He said it best with song …

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