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The Song Keepers in Concert

Melbourne Recital Centre & Melbourne International Film Festival announce The Song Keepers in Concert

Melbourne Recital Centre in association with Melbourne International Film Festival is delighted to present The Song Keepers in Concert, the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir signature performance of Arrkanala Lyilhitjika.

The Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir has become a musical ‘tour de 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.

Having first been introduced to choral singing by German mission pioneers to the Western Arrarnta people of Ntaria in the late 1800s, this musical innovation was a natural ‘fit’ to a people with a long history of transmitting their culture, wisdom and knowledge through song and ceremony. In this performance, the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir tells a remarkable but largely unknown story of over 100 years of choral heritage and practice in remote Central Australian Aboriginal communities.

Arrkanala Lyilhitjika is a narrative musical work comprising a 90-minute choral performance accompanied by a multi-arts rear narration, telling the remarkable story of choral practice in remote Central Australian communities. This performance is a unique Australian musical conjunction: a union of Baroque and Romantic era choral arrangements, and centuries-old sacred poetry (hymns) held within the Western Arrarnta and Pitjantjatjara languages. Comprising of four movements, each containing hymns and songs which recall significant periods of the story, Arrkanala Lyilhitjika allows a conversation to emanate between the multi-arts elements of the performance and the choral arrangements sung by the choir.

Arrkanan Lylilhitjika will inform, educate and provide 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 Lylilhitjika is a story of the cultural\ resilience of women, representing 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. Prior to the main performance, there will be a welcome to country and a performance by the Koorie Tiddas Youth Choir on August 7 at Melbourne Recital Centre.


Welcome To Country with Koorie Tiddas Youth Choir
Monday 7 August, 6pm
Ground Floor Foyer
FREE event

The Song Keepers in Concert
Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir
Monday 7 August, 7.30pm
Elisabeth Murdoch Hall (Two hours incl. interval)
A reserve $45
B reserve $35

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. Specific dates and times and ticket bookings will be available from 12 July 2017 at

About Koorie Tiddas Youth Choir
Running since 2010, the VACCA Koorie Tiddas Youth Choir, offers opportunities for Aboriginal girls and young women to participate in positive, fulfilling and creative after-school activities, under the musical direction of singer songwriter Monica Weightman. The choir is led by the young girls, Aboriginal musicians and Elders, and works to build self-esteem,\ confidence, resilience and a sense of identity through connecting to Aboriginal culture and local community, learning traditional language, acquiring music skills and performing their own songs.


Di Rolle | 0419 001 068