“You can’t beat siblings singing together; they make the air beat in sync.” So Paul Kelly says about the magical voices of Vika and Linda Bull, who have enchanted Australian music fans for the past three decades.
Through their star turns in the Black Sorrows and Kelly’s band of soulful music-makers to their own recordings, the magic of their sibling harmonies has been captured in its full glory on their first anthology Akilotoa .
Linda jokes that she had to ask what an anthology was when the folk at Michael Gudinski’s Bloodlines imprint suggested they make one and join the collection of artists on the label who have made an indelible mark on the Australian cultural soundscape.
“We are hard to pigeonhole and so many people tried in the ’80s,” she says.
“From rock’n’roll to soul, we’ve always had a crack at everything and now that makes more sense when kids can get a playlist of different genres in two seconds.”
Their effervescent performance and effortless harmonies were discovered by the world during the COVID-19 shutdowns, when the Bull sisters became accidental viral stars mucking around in Linda’s loungeroom.
They had kicked off a Facebook live Sunday Sing Song session in early-April and they started mucking around with the classic wedding party flashmob dance soundtrack of Nutbush City Limits, reworked with self-isolating themed lyrics. Iso City Limits has had six million views, as the world discovered these well kept Australian secrets.
“We have really enjoyed the Sunday Sing Songs; it’s something to work towards each week, having to learn the harmonies and find an audience through social media that we hadn’t tapped into before,” Vika says. “After Nutbush, there were people who would come up to me at the shops saying they’d seen it, which hasn’t happened before.”
The Anthology not only underscores their inestimable contribution to the repertoire of the Sorrows or Kelly, it brings together the songs they have recorded as their Vika and Linda duo across six studio albums since 1994.
You forget just how many great songs they have until you run down the track list – When Will You Fall For Me, House Of Love, We’ve Started a Fire and I Know Where To Go To Feel Good. Their regular appearances at festivals in the past decade coupled with their new social media fandom, has given their audience a generational refresh.
“They can both sing tenderly, delicately, with great vulnerability but they can both also, at the flick of a switch, fully open the throttle,” Kelly says. “They’ve been a huge influence on my daughters Maddie and Memphis, in the way they perform and the way they carry themselves. An important thing to note about Vika and Linda is how visually captivating they are when they perform.”
Vika and Linda launch the album with a special Sunday Sing Song and Q&A with Brian Nankervis, to be live streamed on their Facebook page on Sunday from 11am.
Originally published as Beloved singing duo’s next big move