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Aust. Aboriginal Mission Songs Project

Sandra in Sydney 30 Dec 16 - 03:36 AM
GUEST,Malcolm Storey 30 Dec 16 - 07:19 AM
Gallus Moll 30 Dec 16 - 04:31 PM
Sandra in Sydney 30 Dec 16 - 05:58 PM
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Subject: Aust. Aboriginal Mission Songs Project
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 30 Dec 16 - 03:36 AM

click on the link for videos & links to other Indigenous stories

Early Indigenous folk songs collated, promoted by Mission Songs project A rare collection of early Indigenous folk songs is providing insight on what life was like in the days when Aboriginal people were sent to missions.

The Mission Songs project is curated by singer Jessie Lloyd and brings together a collection of songs, which have largely remained hidden until now, from the Christian missions, Aboriginal reserves and the fringes of townships where Indigenous people were relocated.

"I think it's a really important part of Australian history, I think it's a really important part of Australian identity," Lloyd said.

"I think long term it could open up discussions about, not only the differences, but the similarities in black and white Australia."

Missions were set up in the 19th century to house, protect, and evangelise to Aboriginal people.

The missionaries, which used Christian texts to guide and justify their actions, encouraged Aboriginal people to move into mission settlements and join small European Christian communities, according to the NSW Government's Office of Environment and Heritage website.

From songs about Aboriginal men in Darwin on the lookout for Japanese ships during World War II to heartfelt songs of isolation, the Mission Songs project is providing a living historical archive, which Lloyd hopes will become cemented in Australia's cultural identity.

"With iPhones and the internet, it's hard to imagine what it was like to have no food or no meat or no sugar — living off rations," she said.

"It's something that my grandmother survived and now I'm sitting here because of that resilience, and I feel very lucky that there is a song — or a handful of songs — that actually can paint that picture very clearly and take us back to that time."

Ms Lloyd is travelling around Australia performing the songs she has collated so far, and will be singing them at the Woodford Folk Festival until Sunday.

She said these songs were comparable to the black gospel tradition from the US, and she hopes they become as well-known and celebrated as a distinct Australian music tradition.

"I think acknowledging the early mission songs is very similar to the Blues," Lloyd said.

"The African Americans — they were displaced and oppressed, and the music and the stories and the culture that came from that is a significant shift in their existence and the same applies here."

I hope it continues beyond me'

Aboriginal Elder Edna Kina was thrilled to hear the songs of her youth making a comeback at the Woodford Folk Festival.

"To have them here at Woodford and on my country was a blessing," Ms Kina said.

"It was beautiful to have them here, to listen to them sing about the old homes of our nannas which they used to sing."

Ms Lloyd hopes The Irex — a traditional song about the boat used to transport Aboriginal people who were removed to Palm Island — will become an Australian classic, like Waltzing Matilda.

"Both are as Australian as each other and both should be sung widely and taught in the schools for people to take ownership of our history as a nation," she said.

With an album due out in March, and a songbook of choral arrangements to be released soon after, Ms Lloyd hopes this will be just the start of the Mission Songs project.

"When you see elders listening, it takes them back to a time, and people go 'nobody ever asked us this before'," she said.

"I don't think it'll end any time soon. I don't think there's ever going to be a conclusion and I hope it continues beyond me.

"I hope one day everybody learns to sing that song and sing it means our memories and our history and our old people will never be forgotten."


Singing the country to life

Indigenous youth keeping songlines alive around Australia

How elders are reviving Aboriginal language through children's songs

Short Black Opera

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Subject: RE: Aust. Aboriginal Mission Songs Project
From: GUEST,Malcolm Storey
Date: 30 Dec 16 - 07:19 AM

I would like to spend some time looking at this material.

I don't know if this will link in any way with the material Chris Sullivan collected and was ignored by the great and good.

We shall see.

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Subject: RE: Aust. Aboriginal Mission Songs Project
From: Gallus Moll
Date: 30 Dec 16 - 04:31 PM

When I visited Adelaide in 2011 I hear the amazing Archie Roach at WOMAD--- blew me away.
It was wonderful to hear him live again in Edinburgh at The Fringe in August this year - his first trip to Scotland.
I am sure Jessie Lloyd will know or at least know of Archie, and all the contacts with singers, musicians, song carriers and tradition bearers?
This project sounds very interesting - all the best with it!

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Subject: RE: Aust. Aboriginal Mission Songs Project
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 30 Dec 16 - 05:58 PM

Archie Roach is an amazing man & an amazing performer

Jessie Lloyd Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander musician
An award winning musician, composer and music business woman, Jessie Lloyd has experience in the areas composition, music direction, project management and sector development. Dedicated to the strength and progress of modern Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture through the mediums of music and song.

Jessie Lloyd projects

Mission Songs project Reviving early modern Australian Indigenous music, stories and song.

Mission songs project on youtube

Mission Songs Project introduced by Archie Roach supported by the Archie Roach foundation. Mission Songs Project is an initiative to research and present a collection of Indigenous songs that were composed and performed from 1900 to 1999. Focusing on songs from the missions, reserves and fringes of township were Indigenous people were relocated.

Archie Roach & Marcia Langton - Mission Songs Project Like many songs sung during the mission days, the lyrics spoke of hardship and resilience, providing a snap shot in time for Australian Indigenous people in the early 20th Century. The Mission Songs Project aims to honour that history by keeping their stories and songs alive and pay tribute to our old people

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