Central Australian Aboriginal Women's Choir

The Song Keepers in Concert

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The Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir has become a musical ‘tour dé force’ since their historic and highly acclaimed concert tour of Germany in mid-2015.

This unique Central Australian ensemble sings sacred music in the Western Arrarnta and Pitjantjatjara languages — two living languages of the Northern Territory and South Australia — together with new music introduced through recent collaborations with other Centralian and international choirs.

Their signature performance piece Arrkanala Lyilhitjika is a narrative musical work comprising a 90-minute choral performance accompanied by multi-media, sometimes illuminated by lyrical narration, telling the iconic story of approximately 120 years of continuous choral practice in remote Central Australian communities. This work reveals a unique Australian musical conjunction of Baroque and Romantic era choral arrangements, centuries-old Sacred poetry (Hymns) locked and carried in the Western Arrarnta and Pitjantjatjara languages. Arrkanala Lyilhitjika will inform and educate, providing a rare insight into a vital but largely unknown aspect of Aboriginal culture in the Central Desert. With male musicians dominating the contemporary indigenous performance landscape, Arrkanala Lyilhitjika is a story of the cultural resilience of women and represents an unheralded aspect of contemporary Australian Indigenous musicianship. It is a testament to the resilience of indigenous women in the Central Desert as they preserve and strengthen their identity, languages and culture through song.

Supported by the MIFF Premiere Fund, ‘The Song Keepers’ feature-length documentary telling the story of the Choir and its inspirational people will have its world premiere season at Melbourne International Film Festival during 3-20 August 2017. Click here for more information.

Presented by Melbourne Recital Centre in association with Melbourne International Film Festival

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