Australian musical cultures entwine in this unique collaborative partnership, where the ancient Indigenous music of South Arnhem Land’s songmen the Wilfred Brothers meets the award-winning compositional and improvisational artistry of Paul Grabowsky.
Bambula, like many words in our rich Indigenous languages, means many things. It signifies a ceremonial ground, a sacred site, and the place from which things originate. In the words of Daniel Wilfred, “it is the place where the ancestor’s fingers touched the ground.” David and Daniel Wilfred perform ceremony over a wide swathe of S.E. Arnhem Land. The songs they publicly perform, called manikay, are portals through space and time, bringing the time of beginnings – that which we call ‘Dreamtime’ – into the here and now.
Over 15 years, Paul Grabowsky has worked with the Wilfred clan, making various ensemble iterations of Crossing Roper Bar with the Australian Art Orchestra, and the award-winning Nyilipidgi with the Monash Art Ensemble.
Now, with Bambula, Grabowsky has reduced the sonic palette down to the essentials. The searing, haunting voice of Daniel Wilfred, the masterful yidaki playing of David Wilfred, and Grabowsky on the instrument he describes as his ‘existential mirror’, the piano.
“An original jazz symphony of monumental proportions using words, dances and songs (manikay) of the Wagilak clan, in a moving, original landmark” The Australian
Co-presented with City Recital Hall.
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