Student musical tribute to Dr G

An Aboriginal artist-in-residence program has become an integral element of the cultural fabric at Evans High School.

03 June 2020
Evie J Willie performs Bapa with teachers and students at Evans High School.

Singing

Warwuyu ŋarranha mulkana
Ŋarraku bäpawu
Ŋuruŋuna guṉipunharayu
Yaa, bäpa marrkapmirri

Ŋäthina wilawilayurruna
Ŋuruŋuna djarrawalyurruna
Ḻiya-wayna Bekuḻŋura
Yaa, bäpa marrkapmirri

Ŋäthina Djotarra maṉḏa
Garray Dhuwandjika Daylulu
Ŋuruŋuna djarrapalwuyu
Ḻiya-wayna wäŋaŋura Gunyaŋarri

End of transcript.

Evans High School has marked Reconciliation Week by showcasing a collaboration in song and dance between students, teachers and Aboriginal artists.

The performance of Bapa, a song in language written by the late Dr G Yunupingu, was the result of the Solid Ground program that has run at the school for the past four years, which connects students with Aboriginal artists through an artist-in-residence scheme.

Earlier this year Evans High School’s artist-in-residence Evie J Willie, a proud Wiradjuri musician, was asked to share a song with the students that held a special meaning to her.

The former student at Wellington High School chose Bapa, which was the song she performed at the 2008 Schools Spectacular that helped inspire her to pursue a career in music.

Evie mentored the students to develop their own rendition of the song, which was scheduled to be performed at the school’s Harmony Day event.

Neville Boney, an Aboriginal dancer and choreographer, joined in the work to help translate the lyrics and fuse his knowledge of the song’s story into choreography.

However the Harmony Day event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Everyone was extremely disappointed that the concert had to be postponed only days before the event,” Head Teacher Creative and Performing Arts, Dr Thomas Fienberg said.

Undeterred by the restrictions, the school created a video of the students and Evie performing the song, which was shared online as part of Reconciliation Week.

“The video features footage of rehearsals prior to COVID and a collaborative recording made by Evie, teachers and the students as they returned to school,” Dr Fienberg said.

The video has received endorsement and praise from Skinnyfish Music, the record label Dr G was signed to.

Mark Grose, managing director of Skinnyfish Music, told Dr Fienberg the student’s performance brought a tear to his eyes.

“I was honoured to work closely with Dr G and am truly grateful that his brilliance and inspirational music lives on,” Mr Grose said.

“I know Dr G would have loved to hear the students’ performance.”

The Solid Ground project is an initiative of Carriageworks and Blacktown Arts Centre. It includes the artist-in-residence program as well as a tertiary skills program and paid internships.

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