Reviving Noongar language through stories, art, music and song
Want to know more about the Lullabies?
Lullabies is a music and art program for Noongar parents, babies and grandparents that encourages Noongar families to reflect on family, community and culture as the starting point for writing and singing lullabies in Noongar language.
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
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
Following on from the strong support in Collie from Elders, the community, the Collie Family Centre and the Southwest Aboriginal Medical Service (SWAMS), CAN is exploring the delivery of the next Lullabies program in Bunbury in 2018.