Today, a first listen to what I think will stand as one of the most memorable releases of 2013. Ngambala Wiji li-Wunungu [Together We Are Strong] is a magical mix of old and new Australian indigenous music by Shellie Morris and the Borroloola Songwomen.
This is the latest release from the Song Peoples Sessions project – a collaboration between traditional and contemporary Australian indigenous musicians that supports protection of cultural heritage and maintenance of indigenous languages & traditional song cycles. It’s looking to create new forms of musical cultural expression while maintaining ancient traditions.
Shellie Morris is best known for her work with Black Arm Band, but long before she sang rock and folk, Shellie sang opera. She’s a child of the stolen generations, raised by a white family in Sydney, where she learned opera singing. This new project sees her in the country of her grandmother, singing in Yanyuwa, the local language that now has only about ten speakers.
The result is a two-CD release of traditional songs and new compositions celebrating Yanyuwa stories, melodies and rhythms. It powerfully evokes the spirit and feel of its place, on the Northern Territory side of the Gulf of Carpentaria, and you’ll hear the same sort of emotive power present in the work of the enigmatic NT singer Gurrumul.
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Jiwarrmanji – Shellie Morris & The Borroloola Songwomen
Rra-Wurlumandaya – The Borroloola Songwomen
Ngabujiyu Gurlia – Shellie Morris & The Borroloola Songwomen
all from the just released ABC/Universal album Ngambala Wui Li-Wunungu (Together We Are Strong)
More about The Song Peoples Sessions at http://songpeoples.tumblr.com/
A previous release in this project is Warren H Williams and the Warumungu Songmen: Winanjjara – Songman.
Tony Hillier is one of Australia’s leading music journalists and a musician of long standing here in far north Queensland. His informed and insightful coverage of music features in The Weekend Australian and Rhythms magazine http://rhythms.com.au/
.Tony Hillier’s World of Music is also available as a podcast. Search for Tony Hillier on your podcast app or in the iTunes store. And you can stay in touch with the FNQ music scene with Tony at http://www.entertainmentcairns.com/hilliers-hotline-archive.php
You can hear Tony on ABC Far North each Friday at 445pm.