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Boomerang: A new festival for all Australians by Chryss Carr

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oday we present the first of many eclectic announcements for Boomerang Festival – an Indigenous festival for all Australians. Boomerang Festival is the first of its kind. Never has an Indigenous festival of this holistic calibre been so accessible, featuring an array of music, dance, theatre, comedy, film and visual arts, along with cultural knowledge exchanges and thought provoking conversations. Boomerang Festival is occurring right on your doorstep in beautiful Byron Bay in subtropical Northern NSW. You would need to travel to a remote area of Australia to experience such an amazing event and even then it would not present nearly as many of the incredible artists that define the Australian Indigenous experience that is Boomerang Festival. This is a fully realised commercial event, not dependent on grants or government handouts because the time has come to present our first culture in a way we have not had the opportunity to before – as headliners in their own land. Boomerang Festival will feature the very best our original culture has to offer in the arts, culture and ideas, as well as emerging musicians, artists and dancers, theatre and much more. It features four stages, workshops, traditional healings and introducing the First Nations Film Festival, panels and forums over three days which define the Indigenous experience in Australia NOW. It is an allembracing event – for peoples of every persuasion – come join us. Boomerang Festival will be held on the October Long Weekend Friday

Gurrumul will perform at Boomerang. Image: Adrian Cook

4 at the Bluesfest site, Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm just outside Byron Bay NSW on Bundjalung land. Over the coming weeks we will unveil several amazing announcements including our International line up. The next announcement is due July 3rd. A very limited amount of 3 day and single day early bird tickets are now on sale through www. boomerangfestival.com.au or by phoning the Boomerang office on 02 6685 8310. Artist playing schedule will be available on www. boomerangfestival.com.au What it’s all about: Hosted by the

oldest living culture, Boomerang Festival is an opportunity to get up close and personal there is nothing that quite matches the exchanges our audiences will experience. This is a new partnership between Bluesfest Director, Peter Noble and leading cultural creative, Boomerang Festival Director and Curator Rhoda Roberts; both have been inspired by the artistic collaboration across our shores. Peter Noble says of the festival “Boomerang is a Festival of Indigenous ideas, of all aspects of our original culture. We think now is the right time to Page 1


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show the viability and value of Australian Indigenous culture in an accessible event which will give all Australians a sense of pride on experiencing the best of the best in Indigenous arts today.” On today’s line up we are proud to announce from Elcho Island, the voice of Gurrumul with the mesmerising sounds of the double bass and the 24 piece Queensland Virtuosi Symphony Orchestra. We are also proud to announce the legendary Archie Roach, Shellie Morris and the new generation of emerging musicians The Medics from Cairns and Thelma Plum from Brisbane. However it isn’t all just music! Renowned Australian Actor, TV Host and personality Ernie Dingo and Academic Larissa Behrendt are the first of our speakers program to be announced along with comedian Sean Choolburra who will guarantee a laugh with his show “Fifty Shades of Black.” Also featured is the longest running Aboriginal play, I Don’t Wanna Play House starring Tammy Anderson. Jeff McMullen (60 Minutes) will host the screening as well as discuss a new film featuring Archie Roach about his time on the streets and life after the passing of his beloved Ruby along with the new children’s series, Butcher Paper, Texta, Blackboard and Chalk. Our custodians, the local Arakwal clan will also take to the dance stage grounds on the lands of the Bundjalung in beautiful Byron Shire.

Gurrumul & The Queensland Virtuosi Symphony Orchestra: Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu is a blind musician, who sings in the Yolngu Matha language and was born in Galiwin’ku, off the coast of Arnhem Land. He performed with Yothu Yindi and the Saltwater band before going solo with his award winning album Gurrumul. His second album Rrakala was

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Boomerang Festival First Announcement MUSIC Gurrumul with the 24 piece Queensland Virtuoso Symphony Orchestra Archie Roach with Lou Bennett, Emma Donovan & Deline Briscoe and a ten-piece ensemble feat. string quartet Shellie Morris The Medics Thelma Plum DANCE Arakwal Dancers SPEAKERS Ernie Dingo Larissa Behrendt COMEDY Sean Choolburra- 50 Shades of Black THEATRE Tammy Anderson’s - I don’t Wanna Play House FILM Butcher Paper, Texta, Blackboard and Chalk & many more to come with another astounding announcement on Wednesday July 3 Boomerang Festival Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, Byron Bay (the home of Bluesfest) Friday 4 October – Sunday 6 October 2013 www.boomerangfestival.com.au described as the definitive folk record of all time. Recently at the Sydney Opera House Vivid LIVE presented Gurrumul as you have never seen him before in a worldfirst collaboration, re-arranging and performing the hits from his ARIA Awardwinning, multi-platinum albums in a breath-taking orchestral debut with the Sydney Symphony. This bought a new dimension to his performance; through multimedia the stories of his childhood told by the elders of Elcho Island added a very personal new layer to his music, lyrics and song. The sell-out shows received glowing reviews; “...his performance is immediately magnificent, its impact intensified by a sense of the

generous energies involved for such an introverted artist” The Guardian “An aunty tells us Gurrumul is special because he was born “covered with rainbow” and, as he begins singing, his voice just lightly caressed by violins, her words are proved true” Sydney Morning Herald Gurrumul plays Boomerang on Saturday 5th October www.gurrumul.com Archie Roach Launching CREATION at Boomerang with Lou Bennett, Emma Donovan & Deline Briscoe and a ten-piece ensemble featuring a string quartet under the direction of Jen Anderson.


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Shellie Morris. Image supplied

One of Australia’s beloved, singer/songwriters with a voice and sensibility that is this country’s most important song line. He captured the hearts and minds of a nation in 1990 with Charcoal Lane and the landmark song Took The Children Away, winning two Aria Awards and a Human Rights Award and listed in the US Rolling Stone’s Top 50 albums for 1992. CREATION is a collection of deeply spiritual songs gifted to the world by one of Australia’s much loved and revered voices and songwriters; Archie Roach. Penned by a young Roach over a decade, these early songs went on to find homes on four seminal albums released between 1990 and 2002. Others demoed during these years and reluctantly set aside have now been resurrected and for the first time have found a home in this very special box set and live show. Archie will be premiering songs from Creation at the inaugural Boomerang Festival embellished by

the sublime vocals of Lou Bennett, Emma Donovan and Deline Briscoe, and a ten-piece ensemble featuring a string quartet under the direction of Jen Anderson. Creation consolidates a body of work from a storyteller who has and continues to make a profound and lasting connection with people of all ages. Many of Roach’s songs have journeyed beyond the shores of Australia to be embraced by cultures worldwide. That is the transformative power of his songs. The birthplace of these songs found their genesis at the family’s kitchen table. Archie created, crafted and then recorded songs on an old tape deck. Accompanied by his late partner, Ruby Hunter providing never ending cups of tea and occasionally providing harmonies, children running around, family and friends dropping in at all hours of the day and night, it was at this kitchen table where Archie captured the essence of those songs that would one day travel to touch

the hearts and souls of people worldwide. CREATION @ Boomerang brings to life for the very first time this majestic body of Archie Roach’s early work, both old and found, a homemade gift from the healing hands of the storyteller and song man.Archie will also appear in the speakers program in conversation with Jeff McMullen. Archie Roach plays Boomerang on Friday 4th and Sunday 5th October www.archieroach.com.au Shellie Morris One of Australia’s finest singer songwriters, her voice and heartfelt music has seen her grace the stage from Melbourne to Vancouver Winter Olympics, Japan and London receiving numerous awards. A featured singer with award winning Black Arm Band her collaborations with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, as well as her intimate shows, she has shared Page 3


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2013 Rolling Stone Awards. The Medics play Boomerang on Friday 4th October www.themedics.com.au Thelma Plum ROSIE is the debut EP for this 18-year-old singer-songwriter. Her first demo, FATHER SAID, won triple j’s Unearthed competition in July 2012 and was celebrated on the UK-based Record of the Day blogsite. Shane Howard invited her to join his 30th anniversary celebration of Solid Rock at Melbourne’s Forum Theatre. With her exquisite acoustic set Thelma has opened national tours for Bob Evans and Emma Louise and packed her tent at Bluesfest 2013. Thelma Plum plays Boomerang on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th October Arakwal Dancers

Ernie Dingo. Image supplied

her life and stories to delighted In 2009 she travelled with Brazilian legend Gilberto Gil through different communities collaborating with musicians along the way, as he featured in a documentary that tracked his journey across three different continents. The project Liberty Songs saw her work with Liberian women refugees. Her own recordings are Shellie Morris and Waiting Road and she is featured on Black Arm Band’s Murundak and Hidden Republic and Ngambala Wifi Li-Wunungu (Together We Are Strong) created with the Borroloola Songwomen. She is an ambassador for the Fred Hollows Foundation. Shellie Morris plays Boomerang on Friday 4th and Saturday 5th October http://www.shelliemorris.net/ Page 4

The Medics Hailing from Cairns, The Medics started out when cousins Kahl Wallace and Jhindu Lawrie and friends Andrew Thomson and Charles Thomas came together to make music for the first time. Unearthed by national broadcaster Triple J, they’ve played alongside Birds of Tokyo, The Grates, Gypsy and the Cat, The Jezabels and The Panics. Showcasing the changing face and sound of Indigenous music in Australia, The Medics took out top honours at the 2012 National Indigenous Music Awards with wins for Album of the Year and Song of the Year for Griffin and were crowned Best New Talent at the

The Arakwal dancers are a local Byron Bay dance troupe that practice and perform traditional dance. They have performed at local gatherings and key regional events including Bluesfest respecting the saltwater stories of the region. The Arakwal dancers perform at Boomerang Friday 4th, Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th October www.arakwal.com.au Ernie Dingo A Yamatji man and one of Australia’s most loved personalities, Ernie began his early career in sport with the East Perth Eagles basketball team. An all round dancer, actor and writer he has appeared in some of Australia’s best classic films including the international comedy blockbuster Crocodile Dundee ll, the Fringe Dwellers, Dead Heart and the Wim Wenders epic Until the End of the World. Dingo hosted the television program the Great


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Outdoors and appeared as an actor in many television series such as Blue Heelers, The Flying Doctors, Kings in Grass Castles and ABC Heartlands to name a few. Ernie joins Boomerang as part of our speakers program and will also join the footy panel for the NRL grand final along with some of our most loved players. Ernie Dingo appears at Boomerang on Friday 4th and Saturday 5th October Larissa Behrendt Larissa is the Professor of Law and Director of Research at the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at UTS and a practicing barrister. Award winning novelist she has also published numerous text books on Indigenous legal issues and written on human rights, property law, Indigenous rights, dispute resolution and Aboriginal women’s issues. Her current research work includes analysis of the federal government arrangements for policymaking and service delivery to Aboriginal communities, governance in Aboriginal communities and organizations, as well as on land and other rights of Indigenous people. She is Chair of Bangarra Dance Theatre and a Board Member of the Museum of Contemporary Art. Larissa Joins Boomerang for the forum The F -word, First Nations Feminism. Larissa Behrendt appears at Boomerang on Saturday 5th October Sean Choolburra: 50 shades of Black A dance graduate of NAISDA who formed one of the first international touring dance companies Sean has developed his repertoire as one of our finest comedians after winning the NSW raw competition final in 2002. Since then he has gone on to prove himself as a dynamic performer

with a great formula of stand-up stories and dance. He is in constant demand as an MC, Comedian, Dancer, Hip Hop Didge Player & Traditional Workshop Performer. His latest show will have you learning all about Gangnam Bundy style… Discover his new show ‘50 Shades of Black’. “He also likes skating along the edge of racial stereotypes, but manages to do so in a casually disarming way. Whether talking about prejudice, bush medicine, Aboriginal mythology or country music, Choolburra is a funny man with undeniable warmth. And his skill with dance and the didge is a pure bonus.” Tim Richards, The Age Sean Choolburra performs at Boomerang on Saturday 5th October www.seanchoolburra.com Tammy Anderson’s: I Don’t Wanna Play House

The longest running Aboriginal play, I Don’t Wanna Play House is not for the faint hearted, this production tackles domestic violence, child abuse and thanks to the engrossing storytelling, deft characterization and humour. It’s a gutsy solo play and worth seeing. Tammy is a graduate of the Swinburne University Indigenous Performing Arts course and the John Bolton Theatre School, graduating in 1997. Her theatre work includes numerous creative development workshops for Ilbijerri Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Theatre Co-operative, Playbox and Melbourne Workers Theatre. She appeared in the world premiere of Stolen, and toured nationally and internationally with various productions. Tammy is currently teaching at Swinburne University. Her recent film credits include the award winning feature, The Sapphires. “It is not so often that a performance receives a standing

ovation; for its Hobart opening night I Don’t Wanna Play House received this spontaneous tribute, recognition of a moving tale told honestly, bravely and with much good humour—and of an almost faultless, brilliantly versatile lead performance from the very same woman who had lived and survived the indignities portrayed” - John Bolton RealTime Tammy Anderson performs I don’t wanna play house at Boomerang on Friday 4th, Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th October Butcher Paper, Texta, Blackboard and Chalk Former 60 minutes journalist Jeff McMullen in conversation with Archie Roach on his life on the streets and life after the passing of his beloved Ruby (film to screen as well) and his new children’s Butcher Paper, Texta, Black Board and Chalk is the culmination of 15 years work of Aboriginal singer songwriter Ruby Hunter with support from her life partner Archie Roach. This stunning children’s song book is full of beautiful illustrations and an accompanying music CD and informative DVD. Many of the songs were written through song writing and music workshops held by Ruby Hunter and Archie Roach with children from across Cape York. The songs reflect the beliefs, pride, aspirations and issues of many clan groups and Aboriginal communities, from the coastal savannahs of Kowanyama to the towering rainforests of Lockhart River, as seen through the eyes of Aboriginal children and songwriters. Butcher paper, Texta, Black board and Chalk film and discussion will take place at Boomerang on Friday 4th, Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th October Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, Byron Bay (the home of Bluesfest).

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Boomerang festival announce artists  

The legendary Archie Roach, Shellie Morris and the new generation of emerging musicians The Medics from Cairns and Thelma Plum from Brisbane...