NRPIPA Symposium in Darwin 13-14 August 2011

Another stunning array of papers and associated performances will feature at the 10th Annual Symposium of NRPIPA (The National Recording Project for Indigenous Performance in Australia). This year there will be a focus on community databases for access to recordings. Venue: North Australian Research Unit, The Australian National University, Darwin, 13–14 August 2011 Presented in … Read more

Iwantja Band launch ‘Palya’

Around the remoter parts of Australia there’s a ferment of contemporary music and Australian languages. I had a taste of this a week ago in Tennant Creek, where I learnt of a freshly released album from Iwantja Band, now on their launch journey (Iwantja Band launch Palya).

cover art for 'Palya'
Cover art for 'Palya'

I caught some of the enthusiasm from Patrick McCloskey, a freelance music producer working with the Winanjjikari Music Centre1 at Tennant Creek.

Most of the songs on the album (eg Kungka Nyuntu, Wamanguru) are in Pitjantjatjara / Yankunytjatjara, languages spoken at Iwantja (perhaps better known as Indulkana), some 900km south of Tennant Creek. It suited the band to use a studio not in a city, or in intermediate Alice Springs, but at Winanjjikari in Tennant Creek. And there is more to the mix, as the band’s manager says in an interview:

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  1. The name is Warumungu, wina-njji-kari ‘sing-Nom-Genitive’; see also WMC’s blog

A Warlpiri double launch

The annual meeting of Warlpiri-patu-kurlangu Jaru Inc. and its professional development workshop known as Warlpiri Triangle this year is being hosted by Yuendumu CEC, 16-19 May 2011.

This evening in the Yuendumu school library two resources were launched to a large gathering including senior Warlpiri women.

Yuendumu launch invitation

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Trumpeting revival at Lajamanu

My recent interest in some traditional Australian aerophones sprang from hearing about the Warlpiri kurlumpurrngu or ‘Warlpiri didjeridu’.

The instrument was shown in a event on Thursday 21 April at the National Library, when Steven Patrick Jangala and Yukihiro Doi presented ‘Milpirri: A Response to Cultural Loss’ to the National Australian Folklore Conference 2011. The pair also have a paper accepted for ICTM 2011 in Newfoundland this July, ‘Milpirri: An Aboriginal community event that joins the ancient with the contemporary.’

Milpirri is a biennial gathering at Lajamanu1, with ‘extraordinary performance events’ (source).  Milpirri has been a focus for maintenance of traditional Warlpiri performance which has also ‘toured to local and national festivals’.

Steve Jampijinpa is a Warlpiri man who has long worked at Lajamanu Community Education Centre (CEC), and who has led Milpirri. Yukihiro Doi (土井幸宏) is an ethnomusicology PhD student who has spent time at Lajamanu and also been involved in several Milpirri.  Together they appear on a short video (with transcript) [update: now only on YouTube] (also on YouTube) in which we can glimpse a kurlumpurrngu and something of its revival at Lajamanu. As the NT Mojos mobile journalist (and Jerry Jangala’s granddaughter) Jasmine Patrick says on the commentary, the kurlumpurrngu ‘was used in the early days and it was lost in our days but Jerry is bringing the Kurlumpurrungu back to the community’.

There are a couple of linguistic angles on this revival.

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  1. Records of the last three Milpirri are available through Tracks Indigenous Projects

Emu-callers, the didjeridu, and bamboo

The published grammar of the Kalkatungu language of western Queensland has this entry in the ‘Weapons, tools, etc.’ section of the glossary:

‘pump’ (decoy device for attracting birds) kuɭumpu1 (Blake 1979:179)

‘What on earth is that?’ I said to myself, and wondered also why whatever it is would attract the English word for a fluid pumping device (let alone a type of footwear!).

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  1. ɭ represents l-with-dot-under, apico-domal lateral

How can we get the material we have used in our research back to the people we recorded?

Every time I revisited my fieldsite I was asked for copies of photos or recordings and I wanted some way that these could be accessed without me having to be present. When I started visiting Erakor village in central Vanuatu there was intermittent electricity available, usually only in the evenings in the house I lived in.

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Feast of indigenous song – Darwin

It’s been a rich week for lovers of indigenous music.
On Tuesday (14 August) in Maningrida I attended the launch of the new Wurrurrumi Kun-borrk CD from Sydney University Press (which you can order online). In attendance were the songman Kevin Djimarr and notes-writer Murray Garde.
To quote the blurb on the flyer:
Kevin Djimarr, one of Western Arnhem Land’s pre-eminent composer-performers, presents a complete repertory of traditional kun-borrk songs from the Maningrida area. The album was recorded with the support of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and Maningrida Arts. Murray Garde’s extensive notes, which accompany the audio CD, include authoritative translations and explanations of Djimarr’s song texts. They open up this extraordinary music to a national and international audience, while remaining true to Djimarr’s own particular artistic vision, communicating in a lively and accessible fashion the unique qualities of his work.
The CD is the first in a new series from the National Recording Project for Indigenous Performance in Australia. We are currently seeking funding to enable us to continue the series: please let us know of any thoughts!
On Friday night (17 August), the University of Sydney’s own Professor of Musicology, Allan Marett, is presenting a free public talk as part of the Darwin Festival, “Why should we know about Aboriginal music?” Location: MAGNT Theatrette, Museum and Art Gallery of the NT, Date / Time: 17 August 2007, from 4.30pm.
And as I write we are gearing up for the 6th Symposium on Indigenous Music and Dance, hosted by Charles Darwin University’s School of Australian Indigenous Knowledge Systems, to be held on Saturday 18 August at Charles Darwin University’s Casuarina Campus (Building 22 room 01). Registration is free but please do so online.
This will be a fantastic event, with participation by a number of indigenous performers.

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CALL FOR PAPERS: Fifth International East Nusantara Conference

Following on our previous posting…..
The Fifth International East Nusantara Conference (Kupang, Indonesia, 1-3 August 2007) has an important theme for speakers of many endangered languages: Language and Cultural Aspects of Tourism and Sustainable Development. I don’t know of work on this for endangered languages (apart from the negative – we can’t share our language with outsiders because outsider tourist operators might use it and take business away from us) . So it’ll be very interesting to hear the results.
Here’s a call for papers from John Haan.

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Fifth East Nusantara Conference: CALL FOR PAPERS

from the website: In the past, four International Conferences for East Nusantara Linguistics have been held; three in Leiden (1998, 2001, 2005), and one at the ANU in Canberra (2000). With this fifth conference the location moves to Indonesia, and more specifically to the East Nusantara region. Also, the focus of the conference has been … Read more