Interview: Kathleen Halloran – Adelaide Guitar Festival

Kathleen Halloran discusses with Glam Adelaide the Adelaide Guitar Festival

The Adelaide Guitar Festival once again has a brilliant and varied lineup of performances and events to cater for just about everyone’s taste in music. The Festival, which will run from July 1 to July 16, kicked off over the weekend with a series of free events across the Eyre Peninsula.

The On The Road program continues this week across several towns in the Riverland. The On The Road program aims to inspire, nurture and develop new local artists, while bringing world-class musicians and town-wide activations to regional locations to build confidence in hosting live events and generate economic benefit through the arts. Performing at the Eyre Peninsula weekend was the incredible Kathleen Halloran. Kathleen is known for her work with Australian icon Kate Ceberano and her broad-ranging skills that make her one of the country’s most in-demand musicians. 2023 marks a pivotal year for Kathleen as she unveils her debut release, amplifying her talents as a vocalist, songwriter, and guitarist. 

Kathleen spoke to Glam Adelaide about the importance of programs like On The Road.

“Event’s like On The Road are so important for country communities. So often they are overlooked by touring artists and acts, but they are often some of the best places to perform. Everyone is so welcoming and appreciates what you do. The Guitar Festival has put together such an amazing, world-class array of musicians to go down to the regions. And it’s all free. You couldn’t ask for anything better. There are workshops, master classes and also they’re involving some local musicians.”

Kathleen has always had a love for music, and from a young age she knew there was no other career path for her to pursue. 

“My love for the guitar for me came through a love of great music in general. In my house growing up, there was a lot of the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor — all very guitar music. The first time I picked up a guitar was when my sister’s ex-boyfriend, who played, gave me an old guitar. I was hooked. It was an instant love for the instrument. I just started playing it and then within a couple of years, it became all that I did. Through school I was very involved in their programs. It was never really an option to do anything else; it was always music. Once I made the decision I wanted to forge a career in music, the right opportunities came at the right time. That’s a big part of my story — having the chance to actually get on stage and try it out and meet people and then having that lead to other things and more opportunities.”

The guitar is such a versatile instrument that can cross different genres of music.

“Yes, it is. It’s a reason why I love the Adelaide Guitar Festival too — it showcases the versatility of the instrument and it’s something that everyone can give a go. A lot of households have a guitar lying around somewhere. I teach it as well. And I teach in schools where I see the variation of learning guitar to, say, a violin or something like that. The guitar was so accessible to everyone. Obviously it’s passion-led, so people learning will get online and discover songs they love and then they can instantly translate it on the guitar, which I think is pretty awesome.”

Not only is Kathleen involved with the On The Road program, she will also be performing two brilliant performances here in Adelaide as part of the Adelaide Guitar Festival program.

On Friday 14 July, Kathleen can be seen in The Music of Jeff Beck, one of the greatest guitarists of all time.

“It’s his uniqueness on the instrument. If I was to go into that gig trying to copy him, I’d be setting myself up for an instant loss. He’s one of the most unique voices on the guitar in history. It’s impossible to replicate. He just makes the guitar sing like no one else as well. He’s just got so much emotion in his playing. He can shred like crazy, but it wasn’t always just shredding. It was so lyrical and so tasty. This gig is one I’m really looking forward to. To get in amongst that incredible lineup of guitarists and artists is going to be really special.”

The second performance, Antoine Boyer & Yeore Kim on Sunday 16 July, will see Kathleen perform a special solo spot.

“It’s going to be a great night where you can expect a bit of everything. With Antoine I suspect that he’s going to be presenting a genre bending set. I’m going to be singing as well, and I’m going to be doing some original music as well as some covers of artists who have really inspired me along my journey — Bonnie Ray, Ian Moss, and a couple of other little guitar things as well.”

Further details about the On The Road program can be found here: 

Further details and tickets to The Music of Jeff Beck on Friday 14 July can be found here:

Further details and tickets to Antoine Boyer & Yeore Kim on Sunday 16 July can be found here: 

Interview by Ben Stefanoff

Photo credit: supplied

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