This week there has been a visitor to Barga who arrived from the other side of the world with his family to spend a few days here but they enjoyed themselves so much that they extended their holiday to 10 days before they reluctantly moved on.
Melbourne’s celebrated singer, songwriter and poet, Ian Bland and family just couldn’t get enough of Barga.
His daughter, Ellen was here in the city taking part in searching for the elusive cultural geocache boxes hidden around the area (article here) – Ian instead positioned himself at the unofficial cultural centre of Barga – the Da Aristos bar and using one the guitars hanging up on the wall, kept the clients entertained with a series of lively songs and stories interspersed with his wry sense of observational humour.
With over 30 years’ experience of performing, Ian is known for his relaxed and engaging style and has established himself as a powerful force in the Melbourne music scene. Since 2007 he has penned and presented a poem on a weekly radio show. He has recited his words at The National Gallery of Victoria and recently on the steps of Parliament House in a campaign to save live music in Melbourne.
“A strong singer-songwriter of the old school …. bearing a narrative worthy of a Banjo Paterson or Henry Lawson” Rhythms Magazine
His song lyrics offer a sideways look at a wide range of topics drawn from present-day rural and urban Australia, from the effects of drought to the demise of suburban pubs.
Just before he left the city he spent some time replacing the strings on Aristodemos Casciani’s historical banjo guitar which has probably been strung with the same strings for the past 30 or 40 years.