Reviving Noongar language through stories, art, music and song
Lullabies is a five-year integrated arts and language program specifically designed for Noongar parents, babies and grandparents, providing the basis for learning Noongar and transferring the language into creative outcomes, including song writing, storytelling and doll making.
Participants are supported by professional artists and facilitators to learn the basic structures of Noongar, write and record lullabies and hand stitch accompanying story dolls.
Lullabies is produced by CAN in collaboration with Noongar Elders and their families and is supported through the Australian Government’s Indigenous Languages and Arts program and the Australia Council for the Arts.
For CAN this is about using art to create transformation. We want to support communities to preserve and promote Noongar language and culture. We want to create a future where the next generations of Noongar children are lulled to sleep with songs sung in their traditional language. We know that language is a fundamental part of any culture and believe that our language revival projects contribute to building stronger families and transforming communities.
To achieve this CAN is partnering with key support agencies, including Child and Parent Centres in selected communities to deliver Lullabies, aligning the program with the range of early learning, parenting, child and maternal health and wellbeing programs that support families with young children.
Lullabies addresses the need for continued intergenerational cultural sharing and the expression of cultural identity through artmaking and story sharing that was a feature of CAN’s successful Bush Babies program delivered in the Wheatbelt over the past six years. Lullabies builds on the stories and artmaking about birthing on reserves, missions and on country that was the inspiration for Bush Babies.
Yarning or sharing stories forms the basis for Lullabies, with the presentation of story based songs and art produced through the process contributing to cultural identity and pride for participants. Composing lullabies in Noongar language encourages language interest, development and builds participants musical skills.
Lullabies is being delivered across Noongar country over five years and is made possible through funding support from the Department of Communication and the Arts.
CAN’s Lullabies project is funded by the Australian Government, the Australia Council for the Arts and the Department of Arts and Culture in WA.
For more information about Lullabies, contact Program Coordinator Brooke Small firstname.lastname@example.org
Kwobidak Maawit: Noongar Lullabies from Bunbury
Kwobidak Maawit: Noongar Lullabies from Bunbury is a compilation of beautiful, heartfelt songs from families in Bunbury, in the South West of Western Australia. In the third edition of Lullabies, 19 songs were written and performed on site at Roelands Village in June 2018 and further developed in the following weeks with additional musical production. Written and performed in Noongar by each participant, the lullabies are a celebration of family and community life, and a legacy for future generations.
Join us for the Kwobidak Maawit: Album & Songbook launch as we hear the recorded songs for the first time.
The lawns of the Bunbury Regional Art Gallery
Tuesday 20 November
3:00 – 5:00pm
The event will be live broadcast on Noongar Radio 100.9 fm.
Tune in on your radio or listen online to the live broadcast.
Listen to Kwobidak Maawit album online
Download Album tracks below (MP3)
Download Songbook (PDF)
In 2017 CAN worked with award winning singer songwriter Gina Williams and musician Guy Ghouse to deliver the project in Midvale and Collie. Gina is passionate about Noongar language, which she had to learn as an adult and wants to encourage a connection with language from an early age. Through Lullabies she can work with families to create simple, poignant and meaningful songs that will create a legacy for all involved.
Alongside the song writing last year, Noongar textile artists Sharyn Egan (in Midvale) and Marcelle Riley (in Collie) revived the tradition of Noongar women and children making rag dolls and toys while living on reserves, providing participants with skills in doll making, eco dyeing and rust dyeing from natural materials.
These projects resulted in 15 songs and over 30 dolls being created for families to share.
Aboriginal clients now feel a lot more welcome in the Centre. They have been attending every week and are happy to be here for four or five hours. – Sharon Thompson, Program Manager, Collie Family Centre
Lullabies 2018 in Bunbury
- 10 weekly Noongar lessons and doll making at SWAMS Kwilenap Maternal Health Clinic in Australind throughout April, May & June 2018
- 10 handmade story dolls created with bush dyes
- Dolls exhibited at Bunbury Regional Art Gallery throughout NAIDOC week
- 3 full day Noongar songwriting workshops at Roelands Village throughout June & July 2018
- Follow up music production in the recording studio
- 19 songs written & recorded in Noongar
- 500 CDs produced & distributed
This project was very helpful for our South West Noongar people to come together and express our language and hear from each other. Language through song is important to our people and I thank Community Arts Network for making this possible. I hope it continues and provides a gateway to our Elders and younger generations and our future kids and I hope that our men join in.
– Phyllis Bennell
Lullabies is a music, art and language program that supports cultural revitalization with opportunities to reflect upon and share cultural knowledge, develop creative skills and strengthen relationships. Participants are supported by professional artists and facilitators to write and record lullabies in Noongar and hand stitch accompanying dolls. The CD and songbooks are shared with the local community and beyond.
Lullabies in Bunbury 2018 was supported through the Australian Government’s Indigenous Languages and Arts program, The Australia Council for the Arts and Principal Partners South West Aboriginal Medical Service and Noongar Boodjar Language Centre.
Lullabies participants have described the project as important and meaningful in the following ways:
- Happy to be learning Noongar
- Proud to be using Noongar in everyday life
- Proud to be writing songs in Noongar
- Feeling a sense of belonging through sharing songs with family and community
- Happy to reconnect with country and culture through language and music
- More confident from developing creative skills
- Feeling safe, included and empowered when participating in the project
It’s reconnecting us to our culture and country. I think music makes it more powerful. CAN promotes it…lets everyone out there know that we are doing things in our community, and that our language is not dying, we’re reviving it.
– Marcelle Riley