Bach, Aranda Way

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Australian culture, Dramatizing the world's music, Music and film, Music articles, My blog, Strehlow, Words

In honour of the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir’s forthcoming concerts in Washington, and in honour of their recent film, The Song Keepers,  I re-publish this 2003 article about the premiere of Journey to Horseshoe Bend, which featured one of their predecessor organizations, the Ntaria Ladies Choir. (Please be advised that this article may contain […]

Should it be an opera? (or should a biography be a film?)

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Australian culture, Journey to Horseshoe Bend, Music and film, My blog, Opera articles, Strehlow, The power of the libretto, Uncategorized, Words

Should it be an opera? (or should a biography be a film?) – transcript of a talk given to the Strehlow conference ‘Where do we go from here’?’ Sep 24, 2014 Should it be an opera? – dramatising the Strehlow story The details of T.G.H. Strehlow’s life provide immense opportunities for dramatically illuminating Aboriginal/European relations […]

Life-changing statements

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Australian culture, Loving Oz and the US, My blog, Observations, Words

Over the years I’ve noted down statements that I consider life changing. I ended my previous blog (Words, words, words, 11 December 2012) with one of my favourites: Thomas Jefferson’s “Not a blade of grass grows uninteresting to me”. Others have been: “The problem’s the problem; the person’s not the problem.” Yesterday we were at […]

Outside Strehlow house, 1996

Victory over death and despair in a bygone age. (Thoughts on John Strehlow’s The Tale of Frieda Keysser, Wild Cat Press, London 2011)

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Australian culture, Journey to Horseshoe Bend, My blog, Observations, Strehlow

I have always perceived a great significance in the Strehlow story. For me, until recently, it was the story of T.G.H. (Ted) Strehlow born at remote Hermannsburg Mission in the central Australian desert in 1908, growing up among young Aranda boys and girls speaking their language as a mother tongue; then going back to Central […]

Conocotarius, George Washington – eventually

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in American culture, Australian culture, Loving Oz and the US, My blog, Words

I don’t live in Central Australia and haven’t since the 1980s. It’s been an important strand in my life though, given expression partly in the piece, Journey to Horseshoe Bend. And I guess I think of Central Australia every day. I see myself there. When I am there, visiting in person, I can still see […]

Percy Grainger, the composer who”wanted to find the sagas everywhere”

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in American culture, Australian culture, Dramatizing the world's music, Music articles, My blog

I didn’t get up to White Plains when in New York. I really should have. I’ve long loved Percy Grainger’s music – in many respects he was and still is Australia’s premier classical composer – and White Plains is where he spent the second half of his life (1921-61). There are places in New York […]

Considering the land of Altjira

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Australian culture, Music articles, My blog, Opera articles, Songlines

I haven’t been blogging lately, almost as I’ve felt inhibited about commenting on events or things seen here in Australia. Yet there are constant eye-openers. reproduced by courtesy Warren H. Williams I met up with my mate, Warren Williams, down from Alice Springs a few weeks ago. He was here promoting his CD Winanjjara, his […]

Utulura inkantjaku (Let’s get together and sing): – Australian Aboriginal Music and the Classical Music Strand*

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Australian culture, Music articles, My blog, Opera articles, Songlines, Uncategorized

Since European settlement, Australian composers have engaged with Aboriginal music mainly as a way of identifying with this country, with place.  How does this compare with other countries? An eagle bone flute is almost a cliché in American ambience music. But it is fair to say that engagement in Australia has only groped towards higher […]