In the person of Irish musician Gilbert O’Sullivan we have the creative powers of his namesakes, musical duo W.S. Gilbert (wordsmith) and Arthur Sullivan (composer) all together in one composer and performer.

From the comic opera of Gilbert O’Sullivan to the pop of Gilbert O’Sullivan, Tasmania is in for a treat as I discovered in speaking to Gilbert recently on the topic of his golden anniversary tour.

Gilbert tells me one of the things he loves about touring is discovering new places and he’s really excited about visiting and discovering Tasmania for the first time.

He may have chosen music as a career but Gilbert began his creativity in the visual arts and continues to use those visual artistic skills in his hands on approach to his album cover designs. While the visual arts are a talent and something he enjoys, he tells me the thing he enjoys the most is writing songs and its song writing that takes up with painting taking the back seat for now. Gilbert says perhaps when he isn’t so busy in his professional life he may retrieve a canvas and paint again!. Simple and essential pleasures like walking the dog round out Gilbert’s day.

Right now most of that day, five days a week is spent in the song writing process, sitting at the piano and beginning with a melody. The next stage sees him put aside unfinished melodies and take the finished ones forward to the lyric stage. The process is repeated until he completes an album of 12 songs. Gilbert tells me he operates on the system of the three ‘r’s’ ‘Write. Record. Relax!’

One of Gilberts most loved songs is ‘Clare’ written about his manager’s daughter as a thank you for all the family had done in supporting him.

Like most musicians Gilbert’s songs may resonate with audiences for different and personal reasons. Gilbert welcomes the idea of people identifying his songs to events and experiences in their own lives. It’s being faced with quite different interpretations of his songs is the kind of the unpredictability that delights Gilbert.

Gilbert will appear in Tasmania at the Wrest Point Casino on Wednesday 14 March.
Paula Xiberras