Australian guitarist and singer-songwriter Kathleen Halloran opened the show, stepping forward from the backline of Kate Ceberano’s band to present a solo set of her own original tunes and covers of songs that have inspired her.

She aptly kicks off with her own arrangement of the Beatles’ classic “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, using a loop pedal to accompany herself as she goes. The sharp sound of Halloran’s Maton guitar is heightened by the heavy attack she gives each note. She can barely stay seated on her stool as she uses her whole body to play the guitar.

Halloran’s own tunes ­– “Cost of Living”, “Find Me Again” and “Be Free” – are a mix of folk and pop styles that oscillate between deeper digs at the guitar and big sweeping chords alongside her original lyrics. Despite her claims of being new to singing and writing, her voice sounds full and is reminiscent of Missy Higgins’ earthy vocals.

Guitarist and singer-songwriter Kathleen Halloran. Photo: Dara Mannis

Although one can sense some nervousness within Halloran, she becomes more comfortable by the end of her set, giving a strong finish with a lively rendition of Dire Straits’ “Sultans of Swing”.

In contrast, Boyer has a gentler touch and woody sound in his first song, an original composition called “Arabesque”. It quickly becomes clear he is a master of the guitar; his classical background is obvious, with his astounding flexibility and technical prowess across the instrument.

Kim joins Boyer on stage for a classical-inspired arrangement of an old French song. A harmonica cadenza introduces the audience to the instrument and the beautiful combination of timbres.

An avant-garde version of a tune Boyer describes as a bit like “Autumn Leaves” follows. It begins with percussive sounds across both instruments, with Kim tapping her fingernails on the top of the harmonica. It is not until halfway through the song that the melody is finally played, like the reveal of a magic trick.

Next is another original composition of Boyer’s. Starting with gentle plucks, this song plays like a ballad. One can envision listening to the music while picnicking alongside the Seine in Paris.

Antoine Boyer and Yeore Kim. Photo: Claudio Raschella

Boyer and Kim’s version of “Blackbird” sounds like sunshine, with the guitar and harmonica producing a surprisingly perfect instrumentation for this classic song. The tasteful additions of blues lines from Kim are delicious.

It is easy to see that there is a true musical partnership between these two, with seamless interplay between them.

The last of Boyer’s compositions, “Melodia”, offers something melancholy, captivating the audience as they eagerly await each new idea.

“Olé Leo” by Lionel Suarez and “Playing Love” by Ennio Morricone add a romantic note to the set. Boyer creates waves of sound in “Playing Love” until Kim wistfully introduces the melody.

Finally, the duo plays an impressively rhythmic melody in unison, building towards a rowdy and percussive end.

Audience members get to their feet and demand an encore. The duo plays incredibly sweet versions of “Love Me Tender” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” to a crowd that is well and truly charmed by this point.

In their first concert in Australia, Boyer and Kim enchanted this audience. All those attending left with their hearts warmed and their musical cups well and truly filled to the brim.

Antoine Boyer & Yeore Kim performed with special guest Kathleen Halloran at the Dunstan Playhouse on Sunday as part of the 2023 Adelaide Guitar Festival, which has now ended.

Read more Guitar Festival reviews here.

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