Noongar Youth Share Elders Stories Through Modern Music

Published on Thursday, 30 July 2015 at 12:00:00 AM

By Michelle White CAN WA Media and PR

The life stories of the Noongar community in Goomalling has inspired the town’s youth to record a hip hop music track in their honour.

The song, called “Turn Back Time’ was created during a two day CAN WA workshop at the Goomalling Community Centre.

The track was produced with the guidance of hip hop artist Scott Griffiths, who is also known for his work as MC Optamus, with Perth hip hop group Downsyde.

CAN WA, in partnership with the Shire of Goomalling and the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal, has been working with the Noongar community to record and preserve the Aboriginal history of the area.

As well as learning about the history of their town, the workshops gave young participants the chance to develop skills in beat-making, writing, rhyming, and performance.

CAN WA Project Manager Poppy van Oorde-Grainger said about twenty young people from the local community attended each hip hop workshop.

“They listened to recordings of senior members of their community and they then used the contemporary art of hip hop, to retell the history of their people and town.” Said Ms van Oorde-Grainger.

The Goomalling Yarns Aboriginal History Project is a multi-faceted community arts program.

It has involved oral history recordings, photo sharing, family history research and arts workshops.

Twelve senior community members have played a pivotal role in preserving the town’s Noongar history.

They shared their personal stories and memories with award winning oral historian Bill Bunbury. Former ABC sound engineer Jemma King has collated these stories into a poignant 20 minute radio documentary.

About 80 Goomalling residents, most of them Noongar have also played an integral role in the Goomalling Yarns project.

During the project, CAN WA helped the State Library Service of WA unearth a unique collection of photos capturing day to day life on the Goomalling reserve.

Called the Mavis Walley collection, the photographs were donated by Mavis’s daughter, Goomalling resident, Dallas Philips.  Dallas was bequeathed the collection of photo slides when her mother passed away. They sat in a tin box in her shed before a CAN WA arts worker recognised their historic value.

A CD and booklet, celebrating all the historical information gathered during the project will be launched in Goomalling at midday, Saturday 8 August at the Sports Pavilion.

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