University of Cambridge > > Pedagogy, Language, Arts & Culture in Education (PLACE) Group Seminars > Australian Art Orchestra & The Young Wägilak Group Present Crossing Roper Bar : An Interactive Performance & Discussion of Improvisation as Transcultural Process

Australian Art Orchestra & The Young Wägilak Group Present Crossing Roper Bar : An Interactive Performance & Discussion of Improvisation as Transcultural Process

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Crossing Roper Bar: Interactive Performance

Fresh from performing at Paris’s Musée du Quai Branly and London Jazz Festival Tony Hicks, of the Australian Art Orchestra, Samuel Curkpatrick, PhD candidate at Australian National University and Benjamin, David and Daniel Wilfred of the Young Wägilak Group will present workshops, discussions and presentations of this visionary production in association with University of Cambridge, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and Homerton College.

ABOUT CROSSING ROPER BAR Crossing Roper Bar (CRB) is an exploration of the music traditions of Australia’s first people by the Australian Art Orchestra (AAO) in collaboration with the Young Wägilak Group (YWG), traditional song men from Ngukurr in South East Arnhem Land that commenced in 2004. The manikay (song cycles) of the Wägilak speaking Yolŋu people belong to the oldest continuously practiced culture on earth. The YWG and the AAO have worked to present and, at the same time, create and develop a transformative contemporary rendering of these precious cultural artifacts. To audiences unfamiliar with the world of manikay it is envisaged that CRB may act both as a way of introducing this extraordinary musical form to the world and of allowing people to lose themselves in an alluring world of sound, image and language, while being taken on the journey of the mythical being Djuwalparra, which the song cycle in part represents.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS The Young Wägilak Group (YWG), from South East Arnhem in Australia’s Northern Territory, are custodians of traditional knowledge that is expressed through music, dance, painting and storytelling. “We’re the Young Wägilak Group now, with my story, with my grandpa’s story, and the spirit of grandpa following me. Giving me power, strong power. That’s why I’m talking strong. And I love my tour [Crossing Roper Bar], what I do. I love everything that I do from grandpa, from grandpa’s story and talk. Grandpa also told me, ‘follow me.’ I have to follow him. I’m lucky I’m holding this Wägilak culture strong.” Benjamin Wilfred, leader YWG

The Australian Art Orchestra (AAO), founded by Paul Grabowsky in 1994, comprises 20 of Australia’s leading performers and composers operating at the nexus of notated, improvised, western, non‐western, new and traditional music. The orchestra is renowned for developing music as a language that builds connections between individuals, societies, cultures and nations. It gives a voice to both cross‐cultural and cross‐genre collaboration. The AAO continues to be a ground‐breaking ensemble in developing the concept of ‘music without frontiers’, a notion which accepts the simple premise that music speaks to us in ways that words do not, and that it is possible to engage on the highest and deepest levels of music‐making with masters of various, if not all, traditions.

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This talk is part of the Pedagogy, Language, Arts & Culture in Education (PLACE) Group Seminars series.

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