Yellamundie Festival is the only of its kind in Australia that identifies, develops, and presents new First Peoples stories for stage and has seen ten featured works go on to full production in Australia. Yellamundie Festival Director, Lily Shearer described this season’s weekend showcase as one that celebrated “poignant portrayals of cultural identity to celestial compositions and breathtaking choreography”.
Last night’s 120 minute line-up introduced two mesmerising composition before guests were invited to a special post show celebration of drinks and lite supper.
The First Shot is a story of anger and sorrow, told through conceptual composition with a folk twist.
Inspired by the story of his grandparents, Troy Russell has brought this young couple’s tale overcoming challenge and adversity.
The ensemble layered with the guitar of Chris Beltran and Kevin Hunt’s piano allowed for the dominating accents and admits from Breanna Baxter’s mesmerising and complex articulation of strokes. The passion in her playing noticeable with all band members channeling their unmistakable chemistry for Leila Simpson to soar on vocals. Original folk music and catchy melodies from their ballads were a treat for the ears in a roller-coaster of love and loss.
The opening statements in Gumbirrangarroo Dalanngarroo are simple. The observations a wake up call. The weir that this presentation of animation, soundscapes and musical poetry in traditional and English language talks about isn’t just an ornamental body of water. The grand water system that slices its way through from QLD, inland Australia through to SA, is a¹ lifeline to its inhabiting communities who respect and understand the source of sustenance it provides to the people to function and cultivate their lands. Its a system of water that was constructed by the oldest civilisation in the world some 40,000 years ago and in just two centuries, colonisation and industrialisation has turned it into a scarce and in some ways toxic stream possibly playing a role in the reportedly common health conditions many of these town people seem to be experiencing in modern times.
During a QandA before a second screening, the calm and collected advocate of the weir, co creator, Bradley Hardy explains just decades ago there was no such thing as Diabetes, Heart disease, respiratory and renal function which seems to be common place now in surrounding towns who rely on the source of water and its food supply.
This multi-disciplinary work also features spoken word by collaborator Mark Ross and his niece as their rhymes set against filtered visuals are framed with aboriginal art. The lyrics offer a reflection on the life source acknowledging its multi-decamillenium past of self sufficiency, disrupted by the arrival of corporate exploitation and its effects today before presenting the question on the future of the next generation that will inherit the battered land and water systems that are interconnected.
The solution is obvious of course and the collaborators hope to raise the veil on the beaureaucracy that fails to grasp the everyday effects and traditional relationship with the mother land in favour of proft and gain.
It’s a wake up call that speaks on multiple levels of social inequality, modern capitalism and climate change.
Produced by Moogahlin, this production house develops, produces, and presents new work, strongly connected to community, with a commitment to nurturing First Peoples performing arts practitioners locally, regionally, and nationally through the staging of platforms like Yellamundie for emerging and established performing arts makers.