Rural Rhythms is a series of workshops that fuses traditional Noongar dance moves and didge-making with modern hip-hop culture, urban dance, emcee rhyming and beat-making for young Aboriginal people in the Wheatbelt.
The project was launched in 2014 and aims to develop participants’ dance, performance and life skills. CAN’s Youth Arts and Cultural Officer and WA Youth of the Year finalist Connie Yarran runs the program, working with schools across the Wheatbelt including Kellerberrin, Cunderdin, Quairading and Tammin District High Schools and Merredin College.
Following each workshop students present a hip hop performance for their peers at school and in 2015 the schools came together for a showcase ‘dance off’.
The schools also performed at NAIDOC week in 2015 in a collaboration between Hip hop Intensive, CAN, Static Crew, the Beat Walkers from Midvale, the Yonga Boys from Kwinana and the Rural Rhythms participants.
The Moorditj Day Out was a festival held in the Wheatbelt town of Tammin in March 2015 and was a celebration of two of CAN’s iconic Wheatbelt projects, Rural Rhythms and Healing Songs.
The celebration honoured the success of Rural Rhythms’ hip hop, music and dance workshops and showcased performances by the hip hop crews Static Crew and Lil Sparks with the Beatwalkers from Midvale.
The festival also celebrated the positive impact and success of the 8 year-long Voices of the Wheatbelt project.
Despite these projects drawing to a close, CAN continues to deliver projects alongside the Noongar community in the Wheatbelt, using the power of the arts to preserve, celebrate and honour Noongar culture.
The Moorditj Day Out was presented by CAN in partnership with the Town of Tammin with funding support from the CBH Group, Department of Social Services, Ministry for the Arts and the Australia Council.
There’s a lot of work that has gone into the Rural Rhythms project in Kellerberrin and Quairading and the films in Behind the Scenes provide extra insight into what is involved in the hip-hop workshops and music video production.
In April 2015 CAN ran a three day Hip Hop camp in Kellerberrin with local hip hop dance crews Static Crew and the Midvale-based Beat Walkers. At the camp the 30 crew members were involved in dance workshops, rap writing and recording. They shared their skills and developed their performance work for NAIDOC week 2015 under the guidance of international B-Boys Rush and Pepito, Aboriginal artist Karla Hart and rapper Paulie P.
Also in April 2015, the Central Institute of Technology took second year film students to Quairading District High School to work with high school students to produce five short films that would accompany rap songs written in previous Rural Rhythms workshops.
The students developed their own storyboard ideas for a 2 minute film and shot the film the following day with the school as the backdrop. A film crew documented the making of the music videos and the documentary and music videos were then presented to the school.
Both Behind the Scenes projects gave workshop participants the opportunity to use their created works and extend their performance skills in film and recorded music. The students had a great time sharing ideas and recording their own raps and short films about life in Quairading and Kellerberrin.