In the central desert region around Hermannsburg, west of Alice Springs, a hidden 140-year musical legacy of ancient Aboriginal languages and German baroque hymns is being preserved by four generations of song women who form the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir. Singing 14th-century Lutheran hymns – brought to the area by missionaries – in their own western Arrarnta and Pitjantjatjara tongues, the choir’s efforts to save these sacred songs are boosted by the arrival from Melbourne of a charismatic conductor who orchestrates a historic tour of Germany to bring the hymns back to their homeland.
I found it very moving and had lots of laughs as well. I have lived and worked in Aboriginal communities in remote parts of Australia and these women in the movie reminded me of those I knew. Just as the Hermannsburg Mission is part of their story I realised that my time spent in these communities are part of MY story and I feel much enriched by the experience.
Getting started was the hardest bit. Always worried I might mess it up 🙂
With the many changes to how we listen to music today I have been finding that even though there are so many options, I am actually listening to less music. We decided that having easier access to the multitude of CD’s we own would increase the likelihood of listening to music more often.
After searching the internet we found a CD cabinet that seemed promising. It arrived in two flat-packs and I volunteered to put it together. I was feeling confident after doing two bedside tables earlier this year.
In the end I was surprised to see how much space we have left over. The CD’s are now sorted into their different genres. No excuses now for not listening to music!
Here are a few shots of the progression of the project:
In Don’s own words, “There is mid-tempo soft rock, a touch of reggae, country, a few ballads and two instrumentals. You can listen to samples of every song on the site – they may just briefly transport you back to the 60s …”
Earlier this week we had a good time catching up with our friends Don and Deirdre. Don is putting a CD together and I am pleased to be able to offer a taster of what is to come. Don writes his own original lyrics and music. It has a great message for today for us all as well.
I have two gorgeous grandsons. Isaac will be 6 in July and Alex will turn 4, five days later. Always a busy, birthday week at their place :-). In early 2013, when Alex was two and a half years old, he recorded this song. I haven’t seen them in over twelve months because they live in the Eastern States, however I will be Grandma-in-residence for a week in May!
This morning I was transported back in time to 1969 …
I was getting a few items from the supermarket and a song came over the PA system. I was taken back to a time with some friends in Swan Hill (Victoria) and remembered listening to a good-looking guy playing his guitar and singing Don’t Forget to Remember Me. He seemed to be mesmerised by my friend Rina – as all the boys seemed to be back then. I was an onlooker to the experience but it remains a powerful memory evoked back into consciousness by the Bee Gees music and lyrics this morning.
“The first tune is the hymn Calon Lan (‘Pure Heart’). The written ‘a’ in ‘Lan’ has a little ‘roof’ over its head (‘^’) – it rhymes with ‘barn’ as opposed to ‘ban’.
The tune is by John Hughes (1872-1914). The words were first penned by his friend Daniel James (1848 -1920), a Welsh bard who worked at the old tinplate works at Landore just outside Swansea, the current site of Swansea City’s Liberty Stadium. Both men knew tragedy in their lives, 19th century living was very harsh in industrial South Wales.
The celebrated fusion of the words and music is guaranteed to warm the hearts of all Welshmen whenever and wherever they hear it sung. The translation into English definitely loses something, however the first verse roughly translated is something like :
I do not ask for a life of luxury, the world’s gold or its fine pearls.
I do ask for a happy heart, and honest heart, a pure heart.
And the chorus :
A pure heart, full of goodness, is more lovely than the fair lily.
Only a pure heart can sing, sing during the day and during the night.
The second tune is the Welsh national anthem Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, needs no introduction, translated ‘Ancient Land of My Fathers’ but commonly called just ‘Land of My fathers’, words written by Evan James and the tune by his son James James of Pontypridd.”