Queensland Performing Arts Centre
Coming direct from sell-out performances in New York, the phenomenal Black Arm Band perform dirtsong, a powerful musical journey through Australia's cultural heartland, as the headline event for Clancestry.
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dirtsong by Black Arm Band

Venue Concert Hall, QPAC
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Dates 2 to 5 Mar 2013

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Coming direct from sell-out performances in New York, the phenomenal Black Arm Band perform dirtsong, a powerful musical journey through Australia's cultural heartland, as the headline event for Clancestry.

Set against a stunning backdrop of moving imagery and text inspired by the words of Miles Franklin Award winner Alexis Wright, dirtsong features unforgettable songs performed in 11 different Aboriginal languages from some of the most extraordinary performers and musicians in the land.

Featuring Archie Roach, Lou Bennett, Emma Donovan, Deline Briscoe, Djolpa Mckenzie, David Leha (Radical Son) and William Barton, with special guests Jimmy Barnes, Shane Howard (Goanna), Paul Dempsey (Something for Kate) and Natalie Pa'apa'a (Blue King Brown).

"... make no mistake this is music to send a shudder down your spine and bring a tear to your eyes"

The Black Arm Band Company presents music of the Australian Aboriginal experience. They are a flexible ensemble of artists and a creative meeting place for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal artists and producers to develop, perform, promote and celebrate contemporary Australian Aboriginal music and to interrogate Australian culture. dirtsong was first presented to sold-out audiences at the Melbourne Festival in 2009 and has recently returned from sell-out performances in New York.

Created and performed by Black Arm Band
Original text: Alexis Wright
Film: Natasha Gadd and Rhys Graham
Performed by: Archie Roach, Lou Bennett, Deline Briscoe, Emma Donovan, Djolpa Mackenzie, David Leha, William Barton, Natalie Pa'apa'a, Shane Howard, Jimmy Barnes, Paul Dempsey, Julien Wilson, Michael Meagher, Forbes Scotney, Andrea Keller, John Rodgers, Dan Curro, Rory MacDougall, Greg Sheehan.

Artistic Director: Lou Bennett
Executive Producer: Steven Richardson
Associate Producers: Anna Jacobs and Mia Christophersen
Artistic Associate: Emma Donovan

music of the australian indigenous experience

The Black Arm Band Company showcases, celebrates and shares the contribution of Aboriginal music to contemporary Australia.

Producing three major-scale productions to date: murundak (premiere Melbourne International Arts Festival 2006), Hidden Republic (premiere Melbourne International Arts Festival 2008), dirtsong (premiere Melbourne international Arts Festival October 2009), the Black Arm Band has also been involved in several other major international projects including Seven Songs to Leave Behind (Melbourne International Arts festival 2010), notes from the hard road and beyond (Melbourne International Arts Festival 2011) and The Women of dirtsong (Four Winds Festival 2010).

Since its beginnings in 2006, over 50 different artists have performed with the ensemble. The Black Arm Band have performed to an audience of over 100,000 people -- in cities, regionally and in remote communities in every state and territory in Australia as well as on the world's foremost stages across the globe.

"This gathering of stars and styles was like listening to a gathering of Beaz, Dylan, Judy Collins, Eric Clapton and Odetta."  The Age

Partnered with The Fred Hollows Foundation, The Black Arm Band Company undertakes tours to and works in remote and regional Indigenous communities. Using the power of music, full-scale performances and workshop programs promote and enhance holistic community health and wellbeing.

"... an uplifting experience that said more about black and white solidarity than a million parliamentary speeches." West Australian

In 2010, Daybreak Films released murundak -- songs of freedom, a feature length documentary that journeys into the heart of Aboriginal protest music, following the Black Arm Band members as they take to the road with their songs of resistance and freedom. The documentary has received many awards including United Nations Media Peace award and continues to feature in film festivals around the globe.

"The Black Arm Band reminds me of the long struggle and the long journey we've been on. 30 years ago we were marching for justice down the city streets, but now we're telling our stories in the concert halls". Archie Roach

With two new major productions in development, the company continues to realise new and original creative ideas and is a meeting place for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal artists and producers to develop, perform, promote and celebrate contemporary Australian Aboriginal music to the highest professional standard as a symbol of resilience and hope in the spirit and action of reconciliation.

"Up on stage at Hamer Hall on Friday night were some of the greatest performers this country can presently boast of, members of what is described as black folk protest, a phenomenon as significant to the national cultural life as Aboriginal art." The Age

Collaborating with the best artists from Australia and overseas, special guests that have shared the stage with the Black Arm Band include Mavis Staples, Joss Stone, Rickie Lee Jones, Gurrumul Yunupingu, Sinead OʼConnor, John Cale, Emmanuel Jal, English actor the late Pete Postlethwaite, Paul Kelly, John Butler, Jimmy Barnes and the late Uncle Jimmy Little AO. These artists share a cultural space through music exploring what connects us, rather than divides us, across cultural and historical boundaries.

The Black Arm Band Company continually explores new modes of expression and engagement seeking opportunities to inspire, educate and entertain diverse communities. The long-term vision for The Black Arm Band Company is an ongoing presence - a national resource hub for the development and performance of Indigenous music in all its forms.

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11:32 AM - 3/03/2013
By Lyn
Musicians and uniqueness of contemporary indigenous climate was portrayed with real soul of 'Country'. Amazing Digeridoo Artist and traditional language of the superb Vocalists gave the performance authenticity. Female A Capella was captivating, haunting and entrancing. To hear and see Archie Roach was a privilege indeed. The backdrop of initial B&W Filming was artistically and novelly traditional, but it was a shame the remaining footage focused on suburban and isolated community's negative life images. albeit so sad and heartwrenching,and needs to be emphasisied, the positive aspects, people and colour of Aboriginal Culture (traditional & contemporary) deserved to be explored and celebrated. This may have been the case in the very latter part of the concert because unfortunately we had to leave during Jimmy Barnes' yet, 3rd session in the spotlight- the chronic gravel rash in his larynx was nauseating and spoilt the concert. He ruined Dan Sultan's Song of Old Fitzroy- why wasn't Dan there to sing it ? The audience seemd a bit subdued (perhaps with the visual subject matter) and were not as engaged. A presenter, even voice only, or a leader of some sort may have helped this to explain something of the languages and themes, introduce the musicians etc to engage and really draw the audience directly into the experience with the Artists.

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Presented By QPAC and Tourism and Events Queensland as part of Clancestry
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