Tag Archives: Australia

Gumleaf redux

Herb Patten, an Elder of Koori, painter, and outstanding gumleaf player, has preserved this indigenous tradition by performing everywhere from pubs and parties to national television and the Sydney Opera House.

Patten (above) has enabled anyone to participate in this tradition with his book/CD set How to play the gumleaf (Sydney: Currency, 1999; RILM Abstracts 1999-14755). Patten’s book includes practical tips on how to select a suitable leaf and develop proper lip technique, and his demonstrations include popular and old-time songs along with the calls of several indigenous Australian birds.

Below, Herb Patten holds forth.

BONUS: Now there’s no need to imagine hearing John Lennon’s Imagine on a gumleaf.

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Filed under Australia and Pacific islands, Curiosities, Instruments

Ngariwanajirri (Strong kids song)

Ngariwanajirri

The Strong Women from the Tiwi Islands (northern Australia) are concerned that young Tiwi people are straddling two cultures, losing their language and their Tiwi identity.

To address this problem, the women and their grandchildren have composed a song that emphasizes connection to the ancestors, to country, to language, and to the elders. With lyrics in English, traditional Tiwi song language, and the contemporary spoken language, and with a hip-hop dance-mix sampling an ethnographic recording made in 1912, Ngariwanajirri (Strong kids song) is an example of new music helping to preserve tradition.

This according to “Ngariwanajirri, the Tiwi Strong kids song: Using repatriated song recordings in a contemporary music project” by Genevieve Campbell (Yearbook for traditional music XLIV [2012] 1–23).

Below, a music video of Ngariwanajirri; the song changes dramatically around 2:00.

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Filed under Australia and Pacific islands, Curiosities, Popular music

The pure drop

Produced under the Australian government’s Broadband Production Initiative, Ether Multimedia’s The pure drop is a free online resource that describes itself as “an exploration and celebration of traditional and world music”.

The site is organized around eleven short videos—all under six minutes—that explore topics such as instruments, lyrics, and transmission; links to further information about the specific topics in the videos are provided, and study guides, maps, a hyperlinked index of persons, and other supporting materials are included.

While this resource is clearly intended for use in secondary schools, and is so used throughout Australia, it is available to anyone interested in video interviews, performances, and mp3 audio by traditional, neotraditional, and popular musicians such as Billy Bragg, Värttinä, and Yothu Yindi.

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Filed under Pedagogy, Popular music, Resources, World music