Saturday, April 23, 2022


Djinama Yilaga Choir


Creative Director Lindy Hume

Cobargo Showground Pavilion, Cobargo April 15–17

Reviewed by Len Power


To attend Bermagui’s Four Winds Festival at Easter is to be immersed in a wide range of music and performance in beautiful countryside and a natural bush forest setting that is quite unique.

From its first concert in 1991, the reputation of the festival has grown annually, attracting a wide range of top music performers and appreciative audiences.  Creative Director for this year’s festival, Lindy Hume, stated that the theme of Common Ground invites us to celebrate through the sharing of art and music what connects us as humans, rather than what separates us.  The program certainly reflected that with its emphasis on nature, humanity and community.

The daytime events scheduled to be held at Four Winds beautiful bush setting amphitheatre south of Bermagui at Barragga Bay had to be moved to the Cobargo Showgrounds Pavilion, due to unprecedented recent rainfall making the amphitheatre too soggy to use.  The new venue, surrounded by picturesque rolling farmland, was happily embraced by the understanding audiences.

The weather was superb for all three days and Creative Director, Lindy Hume, dubbed the showgrounds pavilion, “The Cobargo Opera House” to everyone’s delight.  The bets were on that the name would stick!

“Songs From Yuin Country” was a perfect start for the festival – a joyous celebration of Common Ground by the Djinama Yilaga Choir and musicians from the nearby town of Candelo.  The music, dance and storytelling from Yuin Country in Dhurga language were full of warmth and a reaching out that was palpable.

Handel’s opera, “Acis and Galatea” with its pastoral setting involving the love of a shepherd and a nymph was the perfect choice for this country location.  Presented with a deft, light touch by Pinchgut Opera, it was a delight from start to finish with sublime singing by the principals and chorus and the playing by the Orchestra of the Antipodes.

Andrew O'Connor as the giant Polyphemus in 'Acis and Galatea'

By the end of the three day program, the mind was reeling from so many highlights.  There was the delightfully quirky string quartet by Australia’s Alice Chance, entitled “Sundried”, played with relish by the Acacia Quartet.  Four players on tuned Bongo drums presented Steve Reich’s mesmerising work, “Drumming’ and there was the unique gypsy showmanship of Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen with “The Devil’s Wedding”.

Pianist, Tamara-Anna Cislowska, and Rainer Jozeps presented an extraordinary program of music to meditate to and “Chiaroscuro” was a cornucopia of mood music, both fearful and optimistic, with various artists.  Pēteris Vasks’ “Lonely Angel”, with solo violinist Véronique Serret, was especially memorable with its heart-felt delicacy and the audience responded wildly to the furious piano-playing by Tamara-Anna Cislowska of Górecki’s popular Piano Concerto, Op. 40.

The festival finale of the daytime program featured percussionist, Claire Edwardes, William Barton on didgeridoo, Véronique Serret on violin and soprano, Chloe Lankshear, with “Prayer and Blessing” by Tan Dun, created in response to Covid 19.

It was a highly satisfying and enjoyable daytime program but there were more delights to come in the evenings at Four Winds’ Windsong Pavilion at Barragga Bay.

This review was first published in the Canberra CityNews digital edition of 18 April.

Photos by Len Power

Len Power's reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 in the ‘Arts Cafe’ and ‘Arts About’ programs and published in his blog 'Just Power Writing' at