Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Dreaming - Australia's International Indigenous Festival 11-14 June Woodford

The Dreaming is a very special festival, held on Jinibara Country
when winter has descended, it has become my favorite.
This is the 6th dreaming and my 3rd, I've seen it slowly grow,
stronger and stronger both in the program and in success,
as the word spreads. The program covers so much more
than music and it appeals across age groups.
It is for the uninitiated its like being catapulted into indigenous
culture without a safety net.
There's ceremony, dance, theater, music, art, forums, workshops
and film. New and old expressions across all art forms, it is
truly amazing. I took some 530 photos and have culled them
down to the 36 here. So lets look at the highlights, some
artists that are old favorites and some new discoveries.

The Kehewin Native Dance Theater, Canada's most celebrated
Indigenous dance group were spectacular.
The hoop dance was one of the most impressive things I've seen
and the story telling and costumes brilliant.

Dave West born in Ecuador and raised in Canada was on my
"to see" list, well anything South American is right up my
alley. Dave is an incredible guitarist, often crossing into
the kind of authentic guitar work I've only heard in the Andes.
His Tumak harp guitar work performed on electric with a bow
was like very much like that, with its odd timing and occasional
discordance. I had to buy his Cd.

From Solomon Islands the Narasato Traditional Are'Are Pan Pipe
Dancers are an energetic bunch with some fantastic music.
The sort of artists a festival like this can bring out to an
audience that back home they could only dream of.

The dreaming has a fantastic vibe, especially when the weather was
so good. Bright days, dark moonless night with the stars.
reasonably cold but that gives everyone the opportunity to wear
those ponchos that are too hot most of the year here in Queensland.

I caught the Yabu Band a few times, a powerful blend of Desert rock,
reggae incorporating Western and Wongutha language.
Reminded me of Coloured Stone more than once.

The fire pits, of which there was some 6 scatted around the site,
were focal points of activity as the night worn on.
This photo was taken outside the dingo shed when Brisbane's
Chocolate Strings were whopping it up. The hippy center of the
photo had everyone watching his crystal ball antics intently.

The Doomadgee Dance Group were excellent, both traditional
and modern in approach. They were a big hit with the crowds.

Celestino Andean Fusion also a big hit and you would expect so.
Fusing Andean tradition instruments with lets say traditional rock
instruments. They were on my must see list and a great late night
band. Seen here at a special performance entitled
"Maintaining Tradition Culture Through Song"
with Celestino, Alex Doomagee and Delson Stokes.

The Last Kinection, Australia's Indigenous Hip Hop masters.
One of the highlights for me, they were fantastic and they
come from round this way! Energetic, outspoken and a
lot of fun.

Sunday night was the big one with the Ruby Hunter Tribute
followed by Dave Arden and the Archie Roach Retrospective
concert. The Ruby Tribute was a beautiful tribute to a
woman who had such an incredible impact on indigenous
music in Australian. Touching, funny, sad and moving
some 4 or 5 songs of Ruby's were preformed by some
of the festival artists, as well as spoken tributes.
the photo above was from one of those performances.

Dave Arden has been around for a long time, some 25 years.
Working with some of the greats, hes also Archie's nephew
and Archie joined him for his last song "So Young",which was
the one they both did together on Archie's Jamu Dreaming
Album. Dave put on a solid show showing why his is such a
respected artist.

Archie was wonderful as ever, the highlight of the festival
a subdued Archie took us back to 1988 and were it all
started. With frequent references to his soul mate and
collaborator Ruby he made us laugh and made us cry.
At the end of "They took the children away" someone
yelled out "We are privileged Archie," he replied
"No it is me that is privileged"
Always humble, a true legend it was a performance
I shall not forget.

One of the many bands I didn't get to see much of the Medics
from Cairns flew the indie rock flag.

Ykson from New Caladonia was worth seeing and hearing with
the rich blend of reggae, rap, blues and French vocals.

A discovery for me this year was one of the last shows we caught,
it was the second favorite performance after Archie and it was
bloody fantastic. Entitled "Yuyukatha : Kutcha Edwards"
it was a spoken word, music journey through the life of
Kutcha Edwards.
Kutcha is a Mutti Mutti man, born in Balranald, New South Wales,
Australia. He was 'stolen' at 18 months and denied his birthright to
grow with his family, to experience his culture and to live his
identity. As a teenager he was reunited with his family and
so his journey began to retrieve his identity and reclaim what
was denied him, his family and his community

Kutcha has one of those voices that sets him apart from
the pack, his songs are beautiful, thoughtful, emotional
and the journey he took us on had you right there,
laughing at the jokes his brother whispered to him
back in Sunday school, or tears as he recounted the day his
Mother died and he could see her living on in his family.
An incredible end to an incredible time and we had to
get his cd of course.


Anonymous said...

It's been another great experience indeed Bob, thank you

Bob, Brisbane, Australia said...

Can't wait for next year now!