Paul Kelly is scheduled to release his new album Seven Sonnets and a Song on 23 April, to mark the Shakespeare 400 anniversary.
Kelly, in consort with some of the highly accomplished Australian musicians he often works with, sings new settings of six of Shakespeare’s sonnets. “So long lives this, and this gives life to thee” – Shakespeare could never have guessed how true his words would turn out to be, or what fresh forms this life of words would take.
The ‘sonnets’ portion of the work is rounded out by Vika Bull singing a poem by Sir Philip Sidney, providing an apt proof of Kelly’s eye for talent that doesn’t have as high a profile as it deserves, no matter what the era.
The song is from Twelfth Night, one of the party pieces of the wise fool Feste, ‘O Mistress Mine’.
Kelly has long been identified as much as poet as a popular music artist, so at some level this kind of project coming from him causes little of surprise, though much of delight.
Kelly is making the album available digitally at midnight Greenwich Mean Time on 22 April, as the morning of the 23rd begins. Later that day he will give a performance of this special work at the State Library of NSW. He will also be speaking about Shakespeare and performing several sonnets at Sydney Writers’ Festival on Monday, 16 May.