Shellie Morris & the Borroloola songwomen
IN 2011 and 2012 The Song Peoples Sessions returned Shellie Morris to Borroloola in the Northern Territory, the country of her maternal grandmother, Hilda Muir, who was part of the Stolen Generations.
As a child Shellie had been adopted by a non-indigenous family and grew up in Sydney not knowing of her Yanyuwa, Gudanji, Marra and Garrwa families and elders whom she would reconnect with on the Song Peoples Sessions where she recorded a collaborative album with over 11 of her elders, the Borroloola Songwomen as custodians of her own ancient Indigenous song cycles.
The Song Peoples Sessions collaboration culminated in two CDs that combined traditional and contemporary Indigenous music.
Shellie had to learn the Yanyuwa language from the Borroloola Songwomen and compose and record an album of songs with her elders combining their traditional song cycles into the final production.
Shellie enthusiastically encouraged her elders to be a part of The Song Peoples Sessions which took them all on a unique musical journey.
During the process the elder custodians of the songs worked with interpreters, translators and anthropologists to share their local histories, knowledge and culture contained in ancient song cycles.
The elder Borroloola Songwomen recounted stories of travelling in canoes between the Gulf Country Islands as children and attending the ceremonies of their elders where they first heard the traditional ceremonial singing.
Each of these elder women were supported to sing their traditional song cycles which culminated in approximately 60 traditional songs being recorded for the CD including translations and narratives of the songs. Importantly the project profiled each of the elder songwomen and supported them to tell their own musical history and biographies.
The women shared their stories of first hearing the ancient songs and remembered fondly the elders since passed away, who had patiently taught them the songs over many years in the same way that they now share these songs with the younger generations.
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
THE MELBOURNE AGE
PERFORMANCE AT THE DEADLY AWARDS - YOUTUBE
Ngambala Wiji li-Wunungu (Together We Strong)
Together we are Strong will be released nationally in May 2013.
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What is The Song Peoples Sessions?
The Song Peoples Sessions is a collaboration between traditional and contemporary Australian Indigenous musicians to support the protection of intangible cultural heritage and maintenance of Indigenous languages and traditional song cycles, creating new forms of musical cultural expression.
For more information:
The Song Peoples Sessions EMAIL