From his time as the first folk performer at the Sydney Opera House, through all the major Australian and New Zealand folk festivals and countless concerts and club shows, Bernard Bolan has made himself a National Treasure with his unmistakable blend of words, wit and finely crafted music.
Bernard's love songs are passionate and haunting, while his comedy material has had audiences literally gasping for breath with laughter. The words of his songs reveal themselves as gems of poetry and his all-original music has combined to produce many "classics of our time." The light-hearted mood of much of his work can be deceptive; it has poetic and musical subtlety and richness in it that has often baffled well-skilled imitators.
Bernard is an Englishman by birth, 30 years an Australian; lawyer, gardener, traveller, wordsmith? a seriously complex animal ! His lyrics reflect his many moods and his compositions reveal his inherent musical talent. His ability to take life as he finds it enables him to mix the serious side of events with the sensuous.
He has never regretted moving to Australia 30 years ago; "In Britain, it would not have been possible to combine two careers to the same degree as I have in Australia," Bernard said.
Bernard became famous in the 1970's when his single The Rose Bay Ferry reached Number One in the Australian Top 40 Charts. He has produced a number of best selling albums. The most recent is an album of many of his favourite songs issued by ABC Records: ? The Quirky Works of Bernard Bolan?.
His compositions have been recorded by many Australian artists.
Whether he sings of his dogs, his loves, his life as a city gent or getting his equipment caught in lift doors, a Bernard Bolan performance is an unforgettable experience.
What people have said . . .
One of the country's leading singer-songwriters."
- The Australian
'Bernard Bolan songs have heart, wit, humour and compassion; four of the essential ingredients in cooking up a song in my opinion."
- Eric Bogle
'I've known Bernard Bolan for more than 25 years and there is still no-one in the Australian music scene who combines wit, whimsy and sheer sassy style in quite as seamless a package as he does."
- Judy Small
"In my line of work 1 hear a lot of funny people, but Bernard Bolan is the one who always makes me laugh."
- Geraldine Doyle
"Bernard Bolan successfully grapples with the dark monster - the challenge of combining songs of both humour and pathos. Bernard blends the witty ditty, at which he's something of a master, with sentimental ballads and wistful laments.'
- Greg Champion
"Bernard Bolan doesn't so much write songs as inhabit them. Like Bolan himself his songs are idiosyncratic, literate without pretension and at times painfully honest. Categorising him for the benefit of those who might need guidance is difficult but he sits somewhere between Cole Porter and Loudon Wainwright Ill. (And you're still none the wiser?)"
- Mike McClellan
'Poignant, sentimental, wickedly funny, Bernard Bolan is one of Australia's most inspired and lyrical song writers.'
- Tim Bowden