Bambula, like so many words in our rich Indigenous languages, means many things.

It signifies a ceremonial ground, a sacred site, and the place from which things originate. In the words of Daniel Wilfred, ‘It is the place where the ancestor’s fingers touched the ground’.

David and Daniel Wilfred perform ceremony over a wide swathe of S.E. Arnhem Land. The songs they publicly perform, called manikay, are portals through space and time, bringing the time of beginnings, that which we call ‘Dreamtime’, into the here and now. Over fifteen years, Paul Grabowsky has worked with the Wilfred clan, making the various iterations of Crossing Roper Bar with the Australian Art Orchestra, and the award-winning Nyilipidgi with the Monash Art Ensemble.

These were all performances for ensembles ranging in size from a handful of players to twenty. Now, with Bambula, Grabowsky has reduced the sonic palette down to essentials. The searing, haunting voice of Daniel Wilfred, the masterful yidaki playing of David Wilfred, and Grabowsky on the instrument he describes as his ‘existential mirror’, the piano.

Presented by Melbourne Recital Centre


Paul Grabowsky piano
David Wilfred yidaki (didjeridu)
Daniel Wilfred bilma (clapsticks)