Ilona Harker to play Armidale venue The Studio

BACK WHERE IT BEGAN: Ilona Harker spent her teenage years attending many of Armidale' schools, and remembers the city as being more conservative than it is now.
BACK WHERE IT BEGAN: Ilona Harker spent her teenage years attending many of Armidale' schools, and remembers the city as being more conservative than it is now.

Former Armidale musician Ilona Harker is returning to the city this week.

She is currently performing shows with a singer from Victoria named Archer. So she contacted the Express earlier this week to tell us about her gig at Beardy Street venue The Studio on Friday night.

Earlier this year we told Ilona’s story ahead of gig she performed in Armidale on St Patrick’s Day, so the entertainer, who is now based on the north coast, suggested we could focus on Archer this time.

He is a singer who lives in Daylesford in country Victoria, Ilona said, and he has a passion for old folk songs. He loves Tex Morton’s music she told us. We also know he has recently returned from the Montreal Jazz Fest and we understand he is an incredible song historian.

OLD TIME MUSIC MAN: This is what the mysterious musician Archer looks like. He will be performing at The Studio at 62 Beardy Street on Friday night.

OLD TIME MUSIC MAN: This is what the mysterious musician Archer looks like. He will be performing at The Studio at 62 Beardy Street on Friday night.

Anyway, Ilona emailed through two mobile phone numbers and suggested we give him a call. But she did warn us that he could be hard to get hold of. She was right.

We never did reach Archer before going to press yesterday, so it looks like we will have to wait until Friday evening where he will take to the stage at The Studio, the intimate venue on the corner of Beardy and Douglas Streets, to learn more.

We are already familiar with Ilona’s story, but just to recap, she is a singer who first discovered her love of music as a teenager in Armidale in the 1990s.

That was mainly due to a program a couple of students had on 2ARM-FM called Lunatics Fringe, and these uni students would bring all this music in that Ilona never heard of, so she got really inspired by music at a young age.

Ilona Harker singing 'Call me in 6 months'

Looking back on her youth in Armidale, Ilona recalled that she got to experience quite a few of the high schools around the city.

Being a bit of a ratbag, Ilona went to quite a few different schools in her high school years. First she went to O’Connor, then to Armidale High, then onto Duval before going back to O’Connor, because they always took the naughty kids back in, which was very nice of them.

Let’s just say Ilona didn’t have a very conventional education in Armidale, just because she was too busy trying to be very creative.

She never studied music at high school though, and it was after hearing the music on Lunatics Fringe that she started writing songs with friends. It was visual arts she pursued after leaving Armidale to study in Wollongong, but she later found her niche in music.

I didn’t have a very conventional education in Armidale, just because I was too busy trying to be very creative.

Ilhona Harker

While home these days is Brunswick Heads on the north coast, she spends a lot of time travelling, and playing music.

Friday night’s gig at The Studio starts at 7pm.

This story Ilona returning with Archer first appeared on The Armidale Express.