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Review: Vika and Linda: Between Two Shores at The Melbourne Arts Centre

By Natalie Hamman

Vika and Linda Bull may be most well known as the backup vocalists for Joe Camilleri’s band, The Black Sorrows, however their musical journey started long before this, in early childhood. In Vika and Linda: Between Two Shores, the artists recount their musical influences, song writing, and musical developments made along their journey. Starting from singing to the radio when they were kids, to backup singing in a band, to eventually writing and producing their own songs. While the singers may be well known to some who have listened to their music for many years, their cabaret ‘Vika and Linda: Between two shores’ brings new insight into their lives, and it is easy to connect to the two individuals as they recount memories from their early childhood with humour, humility and warmth.

From radio to daytime TV (and even the commercials), the passion and hunger these two had for music meant that they learnt it all. It was a surprising and refreshing twist to be treated to several snippets of some of the old, well-loved tV programme theme songs; Green Acres, Meet the Flintstones and even the old Mortein commercial with Louie the Fly were just some of the jingle’s audiences could sing along to.

As the performance progressed, Vika and Linda spoke about how their Tongan cultural heritage influenced their music and even recounted a beautiful bitter-sweet story about their grandfather, who was the inspiration for the very first song they wrote. Not only was the music beautiful, but the vulnerability exhibited by the two artists was deeply stirring and touching. It's hard to believe that Vika hates song writing with a passion, but the connection and balance between the two sisters has resulted in some delightful artistry.

Vika and Linda have gained popularity for their incredible Gospel and Blues singing. Their powerhouse vocals could be heard clearly throughout the auditorium and it was impossible to miss the talent and passion the two have put into all their music.  

My only critique for the show was the incredibly loud volume that the music was played at. While it is no secret, Vika and Linda have some astoundingly strong vocals, the mic volume paired with the powerful voices often blew out the speakers at times and resulted in ear discomfort, or even pain. If you’re not in the practice of attending rock concerts or putting your ear right up against your home speakers with the volume turned all the way up, you might find this particular performance difficult to sit through.

A lot of diction became lost on louder notes, and some of the lyrics became indistinguishable. This is a shame as a lot of Vika and Linda’s music relied on their tender lyrics and song writing. It is advised to bring a pair of earplugs just in case. I assure you; you will still be able to hear the performance easily while wearing them.

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All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.

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