Jun 13, 2008

Basia Bulat @ The Vanguard

Thursday night at The Vanguard was a delightful evening in a delightful setting, in the hands of a delightful performer. Yes, delighted I was, for Basia Bulat is charmed personified. This diminutive singer from London, Ontario was performing in Sydney on her first visit to Australia. I had actually seen Basia perform in Canada last year at the Wolfe Island Music Fest. On that occasion she played with a full band. There were strings and horns everywhere. For this tour, she performed solo. But in this intimate venue, it probably suited the show. And it was a good show, not in a 'change your life' way, but lovely melodic songs combined with a powerful and dramatic voice were more then enough to satisfy me.

Basia's debut album "Oh, My Darling" was released last year and naturally most of the show was drawn from that record. She actually started with just her voice and hand clapping to what appeared to be a spiritual song, written on the set list as "Hush". The first song to make an appearance from the album was "In The Night", with her early songs being played on an Autoharp. This instrument provides a dense and resonant tone, which sounds quite beautiful. It also looks hard to play, but Basia is quite skilled at this complex instrument. She split time during the night on the autoharp and also the acoustic guitar, both played with great adeptness. One one song she also pulled out an ancient looking miniature harp which produced an elegant and mellow pitch. Favourite songs of the night for me were the melodic "Before I Knew", the lavish "Little Waltz" and the refined "The Pilgriming Vine". Basia also played a Daniel Johnston cover as well as what appeared to be a few new songs. Well, they were new to me and the titles reflect the set list I was able to grab from the stage. As stated, a delicate and enjoyable night, in the hands of a performer who seemed genuinely happy to be in our company. And why not, she writes lovely songs with sweet melodies and she possesses a a very strong voice with quite an impressive range. Oh Canada, you have done it again.

Set List
In The Night
Snakes And Ladders
Before I Knew
On The Hills
Why Can't It Be Mine
Birds Of Paradise
The Shore
The Pilgriming Vine
Little Waltz
True Love Will Find You In The End (Daniel Johnston cover)
Go On
I Was A Daughter

Support was provided by Melbourne outfit Tinpan Orange. Basically an acoustic set up, I was impressed. Like the main act, they ply their craft in the world of melody and charm. They are brother and sister Emily and Jesse Lubitz, plus a guitarist who was flat out incredible. Emily took most of the vocal duties and her voice was very impressive. Soulful and powerful, her vocals raised the music to another level. Definitely worth catching if they come your way.


  • At June 17, 2008 , Anonymous nikki said...

    isn't she delightful? She played an Up Late session at Brisbane's Gallery of Mordern Art on Friday and i was mesmerised. I also got the chance to chat to her afterwards, she was lovely.

  • At June 27, 2008 , Anonymous Adam said...

    I'm going to see her here in Toronto on Tuesday! And a free show, too!
    I'm wondering if she'll be by herself or with the band.
    Actually for Canada Day, she's playing at noon in Ottawa, and then Toronto that night.
    Plus, I'm taking my 3 year old who loves Basia!


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