It may have been a cold and rainy day in Ballarat, but the fires of creativity were burning at Babushka Bar on Saturday 10 April. Babushka Bar is a new addition to Ballarat, replacing Bar Saloon Bar on Hummfray St North.
Starting with a highly anticipated exhibition opening for Ron McKeegan's visual art, not the talent Ronnie is known for, but if this new exhibition is anything to go by that is likely to change now. Better known as the front man for local bands 23rd of Elvis and 80 Hundred, Ronnie has produced a striking collection of works on paper.
Kiri Smart formally opened the exhibition with a great tribute to Ronnie both as an artist and friend. Her opening was as strong in emotion as the works themselves and Pat McCabe did a nice job of providing some background tunes and banter while a good sized crowd enjoyed the work, a beverage and some food. The food itself at Babushka is worth a mention, with a diverse range of options and reasonable prices.
The quality of Ronnie's work was recognised with several sales at the opening and very positive feedback from an appreciative, friendly audience.
It was worth returning to Babushka Bar later that night for Melbourne gypsy duo Goyim. A violin and double bass duo, Goyim produced a fun, percussive and lively performance of traditional sounding gypsy music with a modern edge and some very impressive instrumental work. Other than some catch cries and loose vocalised melodies Goyim is entirely instrumental, focusing the audience on the exciting playing styles of the two and encouraging audience participation. Whether it's hollering, dancing or just clapping along with the slapping of the bass, it's hard to sit still with these two in full flight.
Babushka Bar is a very welcome addition to what can seem like a limited choice of entertainment venues in Ballarat. With a day of art and performance like that and an obvious commitment to diversity, it would seem Babushka Bar has made a solid start as a business and has the potential to become an institution of the somewhat underground community art scene in Ballarat.