Together we can revive our First Nations languages…
In celebration of the United Nations General Assembly International Year of Indigenous Languages (IY2019), and Australia’s First Nations people, CAAMA Music is proud to announce the release of the Therrka Endangered Languages Music Series supported by the Indigenous Languages and Arts Program and the Australia Council for the Arts. We are releasing four EPs in a series featuring some of Australia’s endangered languages.
Approximately 90 per cent of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dialects are bordering on extinction.
Therrka (meaning ‘grass’ in the Arrernte language) is a project undertaken by CAAMA Music to document, support and revive these languages through music. These tracks will touch you in a spiritually and moving way, drawing from the terra firma and delivering a powerful message from our majestic history.
It is our mission at the CAAMA group, along with the Australian Government – Indigenous Languages and Arts Section – to make sure our heritage and culture as First Nation’s people is not lost, but instead remembered, revived and celebrated through the art of music and preservation of endangered languages. Here at CAAMA, we acknowledge the need for our languages revival; with over 250 First Nations languages spoken in Australia prior to European settlement in 1788, and now only 13 of these languages spoken widely enough to be recognised and kept strong with future generations.
In line with CAAMA’s constitution – the importance to record, preserve and broadcast programs and music in Aboriginal languages is a must for social integration of Aboriginal society, culture and history into the greater Australia.
We have therefore set out to engage with elders of Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory, to discover First Nations musicians – writing and recording original songs in language, accompanied by contemporary music.
With success in doing so, we are able to bring to you, the Therrka Endangered Languages series of ‘Western Aranda, Jingili, Pintupi-Luritja and Pitjantjatjara‘ to celebrate the many Aboriginal countries, culture and languages, still spoken within this amazing continent we call Australia.
The Therrka Endangered Languages music series features the following artists:
The Williams Family
The Williams Family are Genise, Damien and Nicholas Williams. Hailing from Hermannsburg and Alice Springs and influenced by their grandfather Gus Williams OAM, The Williams Family singers are backed musically by their ‘Golden Guitar’ and ‘Red Ochre Award’ NIAA father Warren H Williams. They were brought up singing and playing music and were influenced by Christian gospel and country music.
In this, the international year of indigenous languages, The Therrka Endangered Languages Project was a perfect opportunity for these singers to band together and cover five of their favourite chorals and pay homage to their Central Australian Christian upbringing.
The video supporting this EP in language Western Aranda is: Etwalkur’ inthurra ungkwanganga (Nearer, My God, to Thee)
Lemih Thompson started playing music when he was 9 and has performed in a number of bands, including the Kiwirrkurra Band from his hometown. Lemih’s latest release through the Therrka project is filled with hard-hitting messages and centres around his personal relationships.
Friend, bass/lead and rhythm guitarist, Jason Butcher (Tjupi Band) and son of the legend Sammy Butcher (Warumpi Band) joins Lemih on this EP.
The video supporting this EP in language Pintupi-Luritja is: Ngayuluna (I Am)
Solo artist Stuart Nuggett has been playing and writing music since he was a child and was taught by his Uncles while growing up in Ali Curung, Elliott & Barunga regions.
This stripped back album brings you into the world of Stuart Nuggett and his guitar. The language of Jingili has only 5 native speakers alive today. Stuart was giuded by his mother Janet Sandy-Gregory when writing these lyrics, making this album a very special family historical record to share with the world.
The video supporting this EP in language Jingili is: Nayurni (Woman)
Jonathan Doolan and the Areyonga Band are from the community of Utju (Areyonga) 240km west of Alice Springs. It is made up of lead vocalist Jonathan Doolan accompanied by Rufus, Francis, Stephen, Lowen and Lowrence who are multi talented instrumentalists.
This album has an upbeat rock/reggae vibe and is full of great tracks to dance to.
Jonathan describes the songs on his latest album as being about “love & missing family”.
The video supporting this EP in language Pitjantjatjara is: Kapi (Water)