Dirtsong by the Black Arm Band is a powerful musical journey through Australia’s cultural heartland inspired by the words of Alexis Wright (Miles Franklin Award winner). Set against a stunning backdrop of moving imagery and text, the performance features unforgettable songs performed in 11 different Aboriginal languages from some of the most extraordinary performers in the land backed by an exciting ensemble of Melbourne’s finest jazz musicians.
The Black Arm Band features vocalists; Deline Briscoe, Fred Leone, Nicole Lampton, Yirrmal Marika and Tjupurru for the Gold Coast performance.
With songs and music inspired by the words of Alexis Wright, many of the pieces are structured as musical “conversations” between the collaborating artists reflecting on country, conjuring not only a sense of geographical place but encounters, memories, obligations, community and nature. The performance is drawn from Aboriginal Australia mixing traditional approaches and contemporary songs, existing repertoire and newly commissioned music.
While the inspiration for Dirtsong has been to awaken some sleeping Australian Indigenous languages and to work in a spirit of mutual respect and understanding, the project has required all involved to summon the courage to face many dilemmas.
The Black Arm Band (BAB) is an Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) organisation and one of Australia’s leading performing arts companies, widely acclaimed for its distinctive music theatre performances, celebration of Indigenous music, culture and language and uniquely powerful visual imagery.
Emma Donovan, Artistic Director of Black Arm Band is excited for the company to be coming to the Gold Coast.
“It’s a place we haven’t played much, we hope to engage anyone to come to our show as we feel it has a strong Australian identity showing how we live together as black and white to tell this story right, we encourage the local traditional people to come and feel proud when we play in Queensland.”
The stories and heart of Indigenous culture with be shared with audiences in the spirit of resilience, understanding, hope and reconciliation. Presentations like Dirtsong are a contemporary expression of 40,000 years of living culture.
“Dirtsong is something that is honest and shows that our connection is still living today on country, that the pull to homelands and waterways are all still a massive part of our everything in every day. People who see this can actually celebrate living together with these beautiful stories told in the languages belonging to this place where we walk,” said Emma Donovan.
Pre-show entertainment for Dirtsong will feature Onyx Reign, a signature ensemble of the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts (ACPA). They will perform a selection of pop, soul, RnB and reggae hits.
Dirtsong is coming to The Arts Centre Gold Coast for one show only on Friday 16 September. Book tickets here.