Celebrating Noongar language through the power of song
According to the last census, there are less than 400 fluent speakers of the Noongar language left.
Although it is often referred to as an endangered language, there is a passionate movement to promote, preserve and revive the traditional language of the South West of WA.
Community Arts Network believes real transformation can be achieved through art. It is with this in mind that we entered into a creative partnership with Noongar singer songwriter Gina Williams.
Gina and her musical collaborator Guy Ghouse are leading Lullabies – CAN’s music and language program with Aboriginal communities in Midvale and Collie.
For Gina, this project is part of her personal journey to help other Noongar people learn, embrace and speak the language that should have been their birthright.
A gifted songwriter, Gina is well known and respected for producing a body of works in Noongar. In June, 2017, she won a Western Australian of the Year award for work in promoting language revival.
Now she wants to help others find their way back to their traditional tongue by showing them how to write and record their own songs in language.
Working with families with young children, CAN’s Lullabies project will help Noongar families create their own original lullabies.
This could lead to an illustrated book and a CD featuring the songs created during the workshops.
Participants will also have the opportunity to create their own ‘story dolls’.
Noongar textile artists Sharyn Egan and Marcelle Riley will show families how they can capture a personal story or a piece of history in a bespoke, hand crafted doll. This craft revives a practise which was common during the mission days, where parents, impoverished by Government restrictions and policies, would often make their own hand made dolls and toys from recycled or found items.
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 Rachel Riggs