With our regular columnist, local musician Dr Michael Whiticker
Meet local singer/song writer Ian Williams, a teacher who uses music as his tool for communicating.
I first heard Ian Williams perform in late 2011 when he gave an all original solo set with thoughtful words, impressive finger style guitar work and a fine singing voice. I was keen to find out more about his work so we arranged an interview to allow me to delve a little into his background. He is an intelligent conversationalist – our chat was peppered with quotes from his favourite song writers, Paul Simon and Bob Dylan amongst them. He is also an urgent
communicator – his conversation returns constantly to his passion for teaching and the importance of it to him. His background includes years based in the Northern Territory (the Tiwi Islands was his first teaching position) and Far North Queensland, working with indigenous children. His informing me that indigenous kids (in far northern communities) often shout when singing – some times out of tune, as many of them suffer a high level of deafness, was enlightening.
Most musicians of Ian’s quality – whether they practice their art full or part time, confirm it as the most important part of their life, Ian however considers himself foremost an educator. As a songwriter Ian’s stated aim is to impart to children a sense of adventure and wonder, with such little gems as Secret Agent Magpie and So Many Stars – songs which illustrate his point that good songs will communicate across all age groups.
I was interested to hear about the original songs of his I had heard some months earlier, written I assumed for adults. So he talked about the period in 2003 when he had produced an album’s worth of songs not directed at children, excerpts from which you can hear at
It is hard to select a favourite, but amongst the songs that stood out for me on first listen were Suicide Bomber Kiss, Angel Song and A Beautiful Lie. As a song writer Ian considers himself foremost a lyricist and (as he said with some humility) it is the quality of his lyrics which allow him to stand out as a songwriter. Do have a listen to his work and see what you think, and while you’re at it…
Have a creative musical month!