Drawing together leading performers and thinkers, the symposium explored ways Indigenous Australian song and narrative shape relationships, nurture wisdom, and inspire creativity.
A partnership between the University of Divinity and the Indigenous Knowledge Institute, University of Melbourne, this webinar was held within the 20th Symposium on Indigenous Music and Dance, in association with the Musicological Society of Australia’s 44th National Conference.
Cooking the kangaroo: Conversations on Indigenous song, spirituality, and connection
The full recording of Cooking the kangaroo: Conversations on Indigenous song, spirituality, and connection.
00:12:01 Cooking the kangaroo: wisdom and connection — Wanta Jampijinpa Patrick
00:32:29 Raki (string): The character of collaboration — Daniel Wilfred, David Wilfred, Dr Sam Curkpatrick, Dr Peter Knight, Aviva Endean, Sunny Kim
1:31:17 Luŋgutja: Songs of Yolŋu trade with foreigners — Brian Garawirrtja, Renelle Gondarra, Professor Aaron Corn, Professor Marcia Langton, Dr Anthea Skinner
2:29:39 Closing remarks
Cooking the kangaroo: wisdom and connection
For Wanta Jampijinpa Patrick, ‘Knowledge is like a track – you have to follow it and find where it is going. You have to find the food and feed on that.’ Across Indigenous Australia, ceremonial narratives feed people with wisdom and generate connections between groups. Tracking different cooking practices related to the kangaroo, this conversation between ceremonial leaders from Arnhem Land, the Tanami Desert and NSW, seeks the nourishment of wisdom which comes through difference and responsibility. ‘These things are normal when it comes to cooking, but they are more than that. There is a mystery we don’t know until we start listening to Country, until you listen to the songlines. Why do you cook the kangaroo this way? Let’s see what we can discover about this mystery.’
Participants: Wanta Jampijinpa Patrick
Raki (string): The character of collaboration
For the past ten years, collaborations between Wägilak ceremonial leaders and musicians from the Australian Art Orchestra have been guided by the narrative of raki (string). Raki is about connections through the generations that are constituted through song, as well as the ways different voices and traditions weave together in performance. This panel will explore this and similar narratives within a recent recording by the AAO, Hand to Earth (2021). We will consider how the characteristic of attentiveness shapes creativity and the ways the AAO has become entwined with Yolŋu ways of knowing, through shared performance.
Participants: Daniel Wilfred, David Wilfred, Dr Sam Curkpatrick, Dr Peter Knight, Aviva Endean, Sunny Kim
Luŋgutja: Songs of Yolŋu trade with foreigners
In this panel, Yolŋu elder Brian Djangirrawuy Garawirrtja will explain how public songs and ceremonies from his ancestral homeland, Luŋgutja, in northeast Arnhem Land, recount long pre-colonial histories of trade and cultural exchange with seafaring foreigners from beyond Australia’s northern coastline. We will contextualise this largely unknown history and discuss how it provides Yolŋu people with ancestral antecedents for contemporary engagements across cultures. The panel will discuss how Yolŋu ceremonial knowledge of their shared past with foreigners from abroad enables all kinds of intercultural engagements today, while simultaneously asserting Yolŋu sovereignty and autonomy from foreign influences.
Participants: Brian Garawirrtja, Renelle Gondarra, Professor Aaron Corn, Professor Marcia Langton, Dr Anthea Skinner