Many Aboriginal song traditions are critically endangered. Song is of central importance in Aboriginal knowledge systems, and holds inherent potential to nourish culture, language and wellbeing. When a group of relevant senior Noongar people in southern West Australia were presented with a fragmentary but rich collection of archival songs in their endangered Aboriginal language, one senior man summed up the common sentiment, saying: ‘Well, we got to have all of ‘em [Noongar people] singing these songs!’ Working to that end, the Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories Project (www.wirlomin.com.au) has slowly been building momentum, strengthening the connections between song, people and Country along the south coast of Western Australia.
Join Dr Clint Bracknell for Talking Deadly as he talks about the potential for song to bolster Aboriginal language revitalisation, sharing experiences of song and language activism among his Wirlomin Noongar mob in southern WA.
As a songwriter, musician and ethnomusicologist, Dr Clint Bracknell coordinates the contemporary music program at Sydney Conservatorium of Music and his key research interests include the sustainability of Aboriginal Australian song and the continued global impact of popular music. His Aboriginal family from the south-east coast of Western Australia use the term ‘Wirlomin Noongar’ to refer to their clan and his PhD (2013-2015) focused on the aesthetics and sustainability of Noongar song. His current Australian Research Council funded Indigenous Discovery project (2017-2019) 'Mobilising song archives to nourish an endangered Aboriginal language' explores the potential for song to assist in addressing the national and global crisis of Indigenous language-loss.