Music connects people through emotion and imagination. When the lyrics are in a rare language, it is even more special.
Five-time winner of the WAMI Indigenous Act of the Year Award, Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse bring a modern take on ancient Aboriginal traditions, merging acoustic guitar with vocals, and capturing the natural rhythms of the Noongar language.
In 2009, Gina wrote a simple little song, incorporating the elements of a welcome to country. The intent of the song, Wanjoo (Welcome), was to be used by Gina and her three children. She took it to her language class for her teacher to check and correct. The teacher loved it, and Gina found herself teaching it to her classmates who in turn taught it to folks they knew. Fast forward to today, Gina and Guy have shared it with close to 750,000 people across Australia. It is also being sung as far afield as New Zealand, Canada, America, France, Guam, Indonesia and Japan.
Australian Indigenous music Icon and National Treasure, Archie Roach, has likened Gina to being a modern day Edith Piaf, telling audiences that Gina “takes this old, old language, writes and sings these beautiful songs so that we in the audience cannot help but fall in love with the romance of it all.”
Gina is a Balladong daughter; one of the 14 clan groups which make up the Noongar nation, covering the south west corner of Western Australia. She also has links to the Gitja people of the east Kimberley region of WA. Her music is informed by an ancient culture and is drawn from a deep well of recent West Australian and an even deeper personal history. The natural rhythms of the language are perfectly captured and represented, and there’s an onstage connection and charisma that comes from a gentle heart.
Noongar language is critically endangered – there are less than 400 recognised fluent speakers left. Gina’s mother and grandmother, both part of the stolen generations, were never allowed to speak their languages. Gina wasn’t stolen, but was relinquished as a baby for adoption. Telling her story and singing these beautifully crafted songs in language is deeply personal and ensures a concert students will never forget.
Date Thursday 18th March
Duration 60 mins
Cost Free to schools selected through the EOI process. Limited number available.
Wanjoo workshops cover the importance of keeping Noongar language and culture alive, teaching the students Wanjoo (the Welcome Song), the correct pronunciation of the lyrics and the importance of saying welcome.
Each performance/workshop follows a format covering the four “Balladong” principles of Koort (heart); Moort (family, and those we choose to call family, and those we choose to call family); Ngalang boodja (our land) and Koorlangka (children and legacy) given to Gina and Guy by Uncle Tom Hayden, an important elder in the Kellerberrin community (where Gina’s mother was born and most of her biological family come from). Schools are encouraged to invite staff, parents and the extended school community.
Express interest through the Booking Form.
Bookings & Enquiries can be made to BREC’s Education Team online via email email@example.com or by telephone 08 9792 3111.