Review: Gina Williams & Guy Ghouse’s Koort at The Ellington Jazz Club

Gina Williams & Guy Ghouse's Koort at The Ellington Jazz Club
Sunday, November 5, 2023

Koort (Heart) was the second instalment of Gina Williams & Guy Ghouse’s four-part Kalyakoori (Forever) song cycle. The work continues on the premise that 'it takes a village to raise a child' through the personal lens of Williams' life.

Singing in both English and Noongar languages, Gina Williams uses her songs to describe being raised through the Stolen Generation and living with five families through adoption and foster care.

Gina Williams, Guy Ghouse & Russell Holmes

Backed by Guy Ghouse on guitar, her daughter Lauren McGill on backing vocals and jazz pianist Russell Holmes, Williams brought her songs to life before they began by describing the stories behind them. These stories included her father's heart attack when she was aged 12, the domestic violence she experienced living with her mother, her time living on the street and in foster care, and being adopted.

The songs communicated the hardships she experienced while going through each stage of her childhood and the emotions she felt. While the music was deeply personal, Williams made the audience feel welcome, incorporating them into her set by teaching them a few words from the Noongar language.

Gina Williams & Guy Ghouse

After a 15-minute interval, Williams started the second set with a song dedicated to her father Cyril Williams. Called Forever We Sing, Williams wrote the song to her father as a way to remember him. Williams then moved on to a couple of songs written as part of their premiere opera, Wundig We Wilura, which has been commissioned by WA Opera. The song is a dream story describing two star-crossed lovers whose souls have been banished to Mt Brown and Mt Bakewell in York. Upon completion of their last song Djidi Djidi, the audience rose for a standing ovation. 

On Sunday night, Gina Williams & Guy Ghouse showed how great they were at leading audiences on an engaging and educational journey. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience this talented Western Australian duo performing live if you get the chance. 


Photos by Linda Dunjey