Kamahl has had an extraordinary long career and, with his latest release, Heart and Soul, there is no sign of him easing up. He looks as distinguished and classy as ever, and his voice is silky smooth, especially in the lower register.
Kamahl sat comfortably on a chair at Her Majesty’s Theatre as he struck a rapport with the predominantly elderly audience at Saturday night’s OzAsia Festival performance, and there was no doubt they adored him.
As the title of his show – My Music, My Life – suggested, the evening was a series of anecdotes about Kamahl’s singing experiences; songs that have meaning for him, people he has sung for and his family.
He interspersed jokes and gags among his songs, spoke sagely with some homespun philosophy, and recited romantic poetry. It was a good balance for Kamahl devotees. Early in the program, it was interesting to learn of his initial hardships in getting established as a youngster in Adelaide, especially the way he lived in fear of deportation and how Rupert Murdoch assisted him. A short, entertaining animation from the ABC series Australian Encounters depicted the singer’s struggles with the Immigration Department.
Kamahl describes himself as “an incurable romantic and an eternal optimist”, and he enjoyed talking with couples in the audience as he waxed lyrical about falling in love. Naturally enough, he also sang the songs with which he has had a long association: “Some Enchanted Evening”, “Treat Her Like a Lady”, “Wind Beneath My Wings” and “Memories”. Each song was introduced with an interesting anecdote about when he first recorded it or what it meant to him. This formula worked well other than when the wrong recording was played (a grand piano was on stage and it would have been nice to have had a live musician accompanying him).
It was an evening of nostalgia as Kamahl jogged his memory about street names and places in Adelaide in his early years, and the audience keenly called out answers and responses. Although he said he didn’t want to name-drop, an evening of reflecting on his life had to include the important people for whom he has sung, and a slide show summarised some of his major achievements.
The audience clearly adored him and loved spending an evening with him.
My Music, My Life was a one-off performance at Adelaide OzAsia Festival, which closed on Sunday.
More OzAsia Festival reviews
Review: Extreme Jump!
Review: Heart to Heart
Review: OzAsia on Screen – The Great Passage
Review: Fight the Landlord
Review: Meeting with Bodhisattva
Review: Malaysian singer Yuna
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