The spirit of the Kimberley will wind its way across the nation through the musical storytelling of the Kimberley Echoes tour.
After five years of development and regional and remote touring within the Kimberley, the cross-cultural production will tour from Darwin, across to the eastern states and then to Asia and Europe for two years.
The production features The Narli Ensemble working in close collaboration with First Nations artists and was created and curated by Tura New Music.
Tura New Music is an Australian producer which holds a history of initiating cultural development from inner cities to remote communities.
The show hosts instrumentalists Mark Atkins, Stephen Pigram, Erkki Veltheim, Stephen Magnusson, Tristen Parr, Joe Talia and Tos Mahoney. It will also host guest performances from Yawuru Elder Jimmy Edgar, Gija Elder Gabriel Nodea, William Barton and Bart Willoughby.
Founder and Artistic Director of Tura New Music, Tos Mahoney, said it’s been a long journey getting the production strong enough to tour.
“It’s almost like the end of a long road, but it’s been such a rich adventure getting to this point,” Mr Mahoney said.
“Tura has been traveling to [the] Kimberley for 20 years, and it was … a way of learning more about the Aboriginal cultures in Australia, particularly in the Kimberley and finding connection between contemporary and traditional music.”
In the 20 years Tura has been working in the Kimberley, it’s seen many tours and residencies which contributed to the development of Kimberley Echoes.
“We’ve had artists from around Australia that have spent time in the Kimberley to work in collaboration with Kimberley artists and to experience this part of the world. Out of this, several projects have grown one of which is Kimberley Echoes, which is a representation of the experiences of artists that have woven together touring in the Kimberley and experiencing traditional song and dance and working with local artists.”
Kimberley Echoes delivers not only a sonic experience but a visual one too. Footage of the Kimberley landscape and artworks from art centres which have worked in collaboration with Tura New Music will be projected across large screens.
“We’re sharing beautiful paintings from various art centres we work with, that they have given us permission to project – this is really getting to the spirit of what we experience being in that space. I hope that it inspires people to find out more,” Mr Mahoney said.
Mr Mahoney hopes these projections will encourage business for Kimberley art centres and prompt more opportunities for communities.
“It is hard going to these places and visiting these art centres because they are hanging on by a thread,” he said.
“At [the] core of this is the work we do in community, we keep going back and working with different artists and new people. It is great that this can be taken overseas, but what is happening at home is the prime purpose. We hope to build the resources to do more of that work.”
“As Australian citizens, we have a responsibility to ensure that we have knowledge about our traditional cultures … to find out about it, to support it, to learn and protect it.”
The Kimberley Echoes tour will begin in Darwin on November 20 and travel across the nation, including a show at the Dance Rites festival at Sydney Opera House.
The tour is supported by Playing Australia, the national regional and remote touring funding program of the Australian Council.
For more information or tickets to the tour, visit: www.tura.com.au.
By Rachael Knowles