• This Song is from Ever Since: Songs for Wagilak Country

    Everything was sung into being…. we got a tree song, we got a leaf song, we got a flower song, we got  a river song, we got a water song, we got fish song, we sing everything.”

    Roy Wunynumbi is a senior Elder of the Wagilak clan of NE Arnhem Land. In late 2010 Liz Thompson and Simon Green travelled with him and his family to Beswick Falls, a remote and magical place in Jawoyn country and sat with him as he spoke about Wagilak stories and history.

    They sat for four days in the shade of the paperbarks and Roy sang of Gandjalala, an ancestral spirit who gave law, language, songs and ceremonies to the Wagilak people.

    A great funeral singer, Roy is responsible for singing the spirits of the Wagilak home to a place called Wukedi. He also shared fragments of Wata (Wind), the song, along which the spirits travel. These epic song cycles hold vast bodies of knowledge for those to whom they belong. The singing of them in their entirety, in a ceremonial context, might take days,

    In these recordings made with Roy over those few days, he offered glimpses and insight into the incredible depth and beauty of that which he holds.

    This Song is from Ever Since: Songs for Wagilak Country is a result of that journey and offered as a song itself for the wellbeing of people, country and culture.

    Producers: Liz Thompson and Simon Green
    Engineer: Steven Tilley
    Additional composition and sound design Simon Green
    Additional audio and location recordings, Jane Ulman and Gretchen Miller

  • The Danger Seed

    The Danger Seed  is a story that was shared by Wittadong Mulardy from Bidyadanga Community, it belongs to the Karajarri people. The Danger Seed is one of eight audio pieces produced to accompany the books in Sharing Our Stories 2.

    Sound Design and Composition by David Page http://www.nikinali.com.au/. Original Recordings Liz Thompson. Story spoken in English by Lillian Crombie. 

  • Yulu's Coal

    Yulu's Coal is a story that was shared by Terrence Coulthard and Noel Wilton in Adyamathanha Community.

    The story is about Yulu the Kingfisher Man travelling down to Wilpena pound to conduct an initiation ceremony, it tells of his fire desposits and how they are now being mined by Leigh Creek Coal mine and of  the two Dreaming serpents who formed the walls of Wipena .

    Sound Design and Composition by David Page http://www.nikinali.com.au/. Original Recordings Liz Thompson. Story spoken in English by David Page. Yulu's coal song performed by Noel Wilton, written by Terrence and Vince Coulthard and Buck McKenzie  .

  • Varanasi . Cosmic city of Devotion

    Varanasi, the cosmic city, known to Hindus as Kashi, the City of Light, lies along the banks of the River Ganges in Uttar Pradesh, India. They say it is built on the palm of Shiva, one of Hinduism's most revered deities, considered the Lord of Dance and Music. I travelled to Varanasi and was inspired there by the intensity of devotion manifest through sound and music. In the streets and bazaars, along the river banks, in the temples, shrines and concert halls, everywhere flows the sound of a reaching toward the divine. The listener is taken on a walk along the banks of the river Ganges to experience the richly musical soundscape and its focused intention. This program, first broadcast on Into the Music in March 2009 features commentary from musicians Bobby Singh, Sarangan Sriranganathan, Mono and Ram Chandra Pandit.

  • Saraswati's Blessing.

    Wander the noisy, crowded streets and slums of Delh this is a journey with an artistic bent as producer Liz Thompson discovers Delhi's art and artists in its narrow laneways.We meet an artist turning street trash into collages, we sip sweet chai tea among the whimsical murals on a tea shop wall, we eavesdrop and imagine our hands ornately decorated with red henna.

    The program offers thanks to the Hindu Goddess, Saraswati, consort of Brahma, the Creator, and goddess of knowledge, music and the arts.
    Sarasawti's Blessings was produced for ABC Radio Nationals Radio Eye.
    Sound Engineer Mark Don.

  • West Papua - The Promised Land.

    Since the occupation of West Papua by the Indonesians in 1961, the Papuan people have maintained their struggle for independence. The OPM, West Papua's freedom fighters, have challenged the regime for nearly four decades, and many have died for their belief that West Papua will one day become independent.

    Now, in the context of efforts to democratise Indonesia, a sense of "political space" has opened up. Indonesia's President Wahid appears more sympathetic, and regional support has been offered by Vanuatu. The West Papuan people's struggle has gained momentum but the pathy to freedom remains fraught with difficulty, not the least of which is the emergence of anti-independence militias, trained and funded by the Indonesian military: a frightening reminder of the East Timorese tragedy.

    Produced for Encounter. ABC Radio National.

  • Culture in Crisis.

    The history of Bougainville is a bloody one. For nearly a decade the island was the site of an ugly conflict over who has the rights to the profits from the island's lucrative copper deposits: the locals, or the Papua-New Guinean government and Australian business interests.

    During this latest war, many Bougainvilleans went bush. They returned to their traditional methods of food production, magic and healing, and revitalised skills that were at risk of being lost in the rapid modernisation of the country.The island is currently in a process of reconciliation, and Bougainvilleans are rebuilding their lives and communities.

    This program was produced for Earthbeat on ABC Radio National.
    For a transcript of this program please go to http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/earth/stories/s65998.htm

  • This Land is Mine Land.

    The tiny Pacific island of Banaba (once under the flag of the British Empire, now part of the Republic of Kiribati), began its speedy descent to near oblivion when phosphate was discovered there at the end of the nineteenth century.

    From 1900 to 1945, when their ancestral home became officially uninhabitable, the Banabans watched as the land beneath them was dug up and shipped away to fertilise the soils of Australia, New Zealand and other farming nations. At the end of World War II, the great majority left for new lives in Fiji. In 1965, they took the British Government to court and were finally able to buy themselves a new homeland, Rambi Island, where most of the community lives today. Several hundred Banabans have also returned to their original island, where they eke out an existence on its fragile remains.

    In this program, which includes many elements of poetry and song, producer Liz Thompson talks to the Teaiwa family (father John, daughters Teresia and Katerina) about their memories of Banaba, their lives in exile and the difficulties of forging identity in new -- and not always friendly -- places.

    Produced for Hindsight. ABC Radio National.

  • Icaros - Magical Songs of Peru

    Icaros - Magical Songs from Peru takes us on a journey deep into the heart of the Amazonian rainforest to meet shamanic healers or 'curanderos' as they generously share their 'icaros' or magical songs. Icaros have been used for millennia to cure and to curse, to hunt and to heal, to mediate between the world of the spirits and the world of humans.

    They are sung to this day for a multitude of purposes, and often in ceremony, to call in protective spirits, cure illness, activate the healing properties of medicinal plants, attract lovers, call spirits of the dead and alter the weather or, on occasion, for the more malicious purpose of brujeria (sorcery). Curandero Don Juan tells of icaros used to heal babies within the field of shamanic pediatrics. 'There are' he says, 'pediatric icaros, surgical icaros, dental icaros .... all icaros have a specific healing function or purpose. In the same way that allopathic medicine is specialised, so too is the science of icaros'.

    The songs might be taught by an elder 'shaman', but most often they come to the curandero from the spirit realm. Shamanic cosmology is grounded in a belief that plants have consciousness and particular knowledge they are able to communicate. Whilst many icaros come from the plants, curanderos tell of songs received from mermaids and dolphins, from the rain mother, the animals, the snakes, the rivers and stars, in dreams or the waking state.

    Thanks go to Justin Touyz, Carlos Tanner and all the curanderos who shared their songs and knowledge for the creation of this program.
    Featuring curanderos Luis Culquiton, Guillermo Arevalo, Juan Tangoa Paima and Doña Otilia.
    Readers: Marcelo Ovington, Patricio Rodriguez, Matias James Stevens and Lucia Mastrantone.
    Translations by Justin Touyz. Texts by Stephan Bayer from his blog http://www.singingtotheplants.com/blog/.

    Written, narrated and produced for ABC Radio's Into The Music by Liz Thompson and Simon Green.
    Sound engineering by Judy Rapley.

  • A sense of Belonging.

    A story of love, war, dreams and adversity.

    Produced for ABC National Audio Arts.
    Original music composed by Felicity Fox.
    With special thanks to Stella Ritsic.

  • Left it too late.

    Two couples share their stories of infertility and egg donation. Caroline and Drew went through many cycles of IVF which took them on an emotional rollercoaster of hope and despair. Then out of the blue their friend Neisha offered to donate her eggs to Caroline and the result was eventually twin daughters. Produced for Radio Eye. ABC Radio National. Sound Engineer Judy Rapley.

  • Sharing Our Stories Woonyoomboo

    Woonyoomboo is a creation story shared by Annie Milgin and John Watson in Jarlmadangah Community, Kimberley, WA. These audio pieces were  part of Sharing Our Stories Series 1.

    "Lot of people say God made this country, for us in our belief Bookarrakarra, what white fella call Dreamtime,  gave us  what’s here with us, land, language, tucker and water. Bookarrakarra. gave life to this country and all meaning about plants , animals, all what’s in the ground, tucker , and very important gave us our skin groups. That’s when Woonyoomboo came, our  main creator,  he made all these animals, humans and trees, giving the life to the country. They were ancestral people then they became animals, then we came out of the spirit , out of animals .This is going back to when the ground was wet, soft."

    John Watson

    Sound Design and Composition by David Bridie http://www.davidbridie.com/. Original Recordings Liz Thompson. Story spoken by Lisa Maza.


  • Mermaid and Serpent

    Mermaid and Serpent is a story that was shared by Jimmy Balkbalk Wesan and Victor Hood in Wugularr community.

    " We're telling this story because the children have got to know, they've got to learn from us mob. We are djungkayi ( guardians) for this story. We know the story , our fathers and grandfathers knew it and the children have got to know it too - for ceremony, for everything."

    Sound Design and Composition by David Bridie http://www.davidbridie.com/. Original Recordings Liz Thompson. Story spoken in English by Issac Drandich.

  • Devil Devil of Warlok

    This story comes from Jilkminggan community in NT, the story was told by it's owners Sheila Conway and Jessie Roberts.

    Sound Design and Composition by David Bridie http://www.davidbridie.com/. Original Recordings Liz Thompson. Story spoken by Lisa Maza.

    Art works Alex Albert, Clennon Bob, Terrizita Daylight, Debra Farrell, Wanirr Godden, Cody Henderson, Dorothy Joshua, Darryl Morgan, Jordan Sambo.