Schaupp & Noonan

In Duo: Songs from the British Isles

Karin Schaupp & Katie Noonan

Friday May 27, Dunstan Playhouse

Two beauties of the music world combined in the Adelaide Festival Centre's Dunstan Playhouse to present a wonderful selection of music from the British Isles.  The duo of guitar maestro Karin Schaupp and the equally talented vocalist Katie Noonan played a hand-picked, acoustic set that took the audience from traditional folk, through the mid and late twentieth century, and ending with modern indie and pop.

From start to finish, the pair's minimalist interpretations were beautifully barebones. They gently stripped back the music to expose the melodic heart of each piece.

Split into two sets, the first drew from the repertoires of Henry Purcell, John Dowland and Benjamin Britten, placing the audience in a British renaissance court circa the 16th century. Noonan's breathy yet powerful vocals wafted over the plucky strains of Schaupp’s guitar, dipping and soaring through the folk pieces. Schuapp displayed the nimblest of fingers as her hands flexed and danced over the strings in Dowland's solo pieces.

Noonan's vocals were on show in a haunting rendition of Pete St John's 'The Fields Of Athenry', which took us far away to rolling British vistas.  Throughout the show, her physicality and gesturing punctuated her glorious vocal style.  In a nice touch, Noonan would occasionally step out of the limelight, quite literally moving to side-of-stage, allowing the audience to focus fully on her collaborator’s amazing guitar mastery.

The second set saw the pair take on more commercial and well-known artists, including Elvis Costello, Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel and Radiohead. These allowed us to see Noonan in her element, with the dual strength and softness of her voice delighting again and again.

As Noonan and Schaupp alternately chatted to the audience, you felt warm and welcome, as if sitting amongst a group of friends at a dinner party. They put on a feast of their favourite musicians, introducing us to those who inspire and move them.  Their passion for the works showed, and a
s musical feasts go these were two of the loveliest hosts you could ever hope for.

A highly enjoyable night of soulful, unplugged music presented by two equally captivating ladies. Well worth a trip out into the winter night.

Nicole Russo