This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.
You can find Part 1 here.
As I mentioned last week, it's NAIDOC Week here in Australia, celebrating the culture of the original people of the country. As this is a music column, that's what I'll be featuring.
KEV CARMODY is a songwriter and singer whose best known song is From Little Things Big Things Grow about the land rights movement that he co-wrote with Paul Kelly.
Kev had little formal education growing up in country Queensland; this was unfortunately the norm at the time for indigenous people. However, he managed to get into the University of Southern Queensland where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in music.
Fortunately he had lecturers who allowed him to supplement formal work with his guitar and oral histories.He later gained a Diploma of Education and a PhD in history.
He has made several studio albums and a bunch of live ones. His songs have been covered by musicians of all genres.Kev sings Cannot Buy My Soul.
Last week we had the Warumpi Band with My Island Home. They are the ones who wrote the song, however, CHRISTINE ANU had a huge hit with it.
Christine's version won song of the year at the APRA Awards (sort of the Oz version of the Grammys) and she performed the song at the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympics.
Christine has recorded the song three times now, with quite different arrangements, so if there are people who are familiar with one or the other, this one may come as a surprise. It's the most recent.
TROY CASSAR-DALEY is one of the biggest names and most successful performers in country music in Australia.
He started busking when he was eleven and began touring with his band at just 16. From the beginning he wrote his own songs and also wrote for others as well. One of his own songs is My Gumbaynggirr Skies.
One of the young opera singers that Deborah Cheetham, mentioned last week, has mentored is SHAUNTAI BATZKE.
She is a graduate of the Short Black Opera Artist Program based at Melbourne University. Shauntai has performed in a number of contemporary roles as well as singing the traditional opera repertoire. In that latter role she performs Sì, mi chiamano Mimì from Puccini's La Bohème, accompanied by a piano.
YOTHU YINDI is the best known of the indigenous rock groups.
They had several songs that made the pointy end of the charts over the years, the best known of these would be Treaty. Unfortunately, their lead singer and organizer of the band, Mandawuy Yunupingu, died several years ago. Gurrumul, mentioned last week, was also a member for a while.
The STIFF GINS are Nardi Simpson and Kaleena Briggs. Emma Donovan was also a founding member of the group.
Gin was a Dharug word for woman but was used by some of the wider community for far too many years as a derogatory term for an Aboriginal woman. The group decided to reclaim the word. They perform Go Go from their album "Wind and Water".
NO FIXED ADDRESS were probably the first indigenous rock band to make an impact on the wider community.
The band was formed by the charismatic Bart Willoughby who sings and plays drums, and guitarist Les Graham. Besides performing, they also made a film in 1980 called Wrong Side of the Road with another Aboriginal band, Us Mob.
The film was about the trials and delights of life on the road for such bands. The band has split and reformed several times in their performing career. No Fixed Address play their best known song, We Have Survived.
Although born in Sydney, SHELLIE MORRIS is mostly associated with Darwin and other parts of the Northern Territory.
She has performed with many of the artists featured in these columns and has toured Europe and China as well as Brazil and South Africa. Shellie is also an ambassador for foundations concerned with diseases of the eyes and other health concerns, and has won awards for these as well as for her music.
Shellie enlists the help of the Borroloola Songwomen to perform Li-Anthawirriyarra A-Kurija (Saltwater People Song).
ZOY FRANGOS is a classically trained singer who also performs in musicals.
He appeared in the world premiere of the Deborah Cheetham's indigenous opera "Pecan Summer" and has sung in other such productions as well as similar operatic roles.
Zoy was the first indigenous Jean Valjean in "Les Miserables". Here he sings Anthem from the musical "Chess".
EMMA DONOVAN was born into a musical family.
Three of her uncles were part of the award-winning country band The Donovans, and Emma performed with the group when she was young. She later helped co-found The Stiff Gins (mentioned above) before embarking on a solo career.
These days her singing style is a blend of soul, gospel and reggae as will be evident in the song Mother she performs with her band The Putbacks.
As a bonus treat, at least it is for me, I'll include DEBORAH CHEETHAM and SHAUNTAI BATZKE performing The Flower Duet from Léo Delibes' opera “Lakmé”.