Television Producer & Photojournalist with a passion for sharing adventures in and around Melbourne, Australia. See my www.youtube.com/user/tmztvaustralia for other adventures. Subscribe to me so I can tell you of upcoming fab things not to miss.
Experience the bliss of the Stoke through the magic of voice
How can voice and song be raised to create such beautiful music that reverberates as rain falling, a waterfall cascading, wind blowing and waves crashing on our island shores? The Australian Chamber Choir can, and they do in this new Choral Arrangement, Terra Australis, Land of Imagination. I was honoured to hear them at their Melbourne Concert at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church. A venue I feel was selected for it's soaring beauty and fabulous acoustics that attenuates voice and welcomes all listeners with its visual warmth of stained glass and streaming afternoon sunlight.
She was inspired by a beautiful poem written by Bill Neidje OAM, the last Gagudju elder and member of the Bunitj clan. He was the last surviving speaker of their language and broke with all Aboriginal beliefs to write down Dream-time narratives in two books of poetry.
Bill Neidjie OAM with grandson - Last speaker of his aboriginal language
He did this to preserve their language and beliefs so they were not lost to the world for all time. A true visionary. Just as Elizabeth was a visionary when bringing together the music of this concert. She ties together the celebration of the Land by Bill Neidje in his poem, with the celebration of the discoverers who founded and mapped Australia externally and internally. She then ties this back to those founding moments to great pieces of music being created in Europe in the similar year of the discovery at Australia.
This magical historical event Elizabeth maps with works by Josquin des Prez and King Henry VIII, the Gentil Prince de Renom of the same year. (Although some believe the King could not have composed this at 10 years old).
In another song, the music celebrates: 'This earth, I never damage. I look after. This ground and this earth, like brother and mother. Earth. Like your father or your brother or mother, because you born from earth and you got to come back to earth. We come from earth, bones. We go to earth, ashes'.
Which was written by Bill Nedjie, OAM.
Elizabeth interweaves two stunning pieces of music composed by Tom Henry, "This Earth" and "Rain" from Kakadu Man (2015) to bring this poem to life.
I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams a choir that could bring to life the sound of rain. It transports you to the wilds of the outback, the dry red earth, springing to life with wildflowers after the big rain, the surf crashing on our long white isolated beaches, and the wind sweeping through our ancient eucalyptus.
You will feel the chill of brilliance from this performance. You know that feeling, when it is so beautiful, so profound, so pitch perfect and soaring, your body gets chills. It reminds me of the stoke.
What is the "Stoke" you might ask? Besides being an Australian slang word for very happy. It describes the feeling inside the curl in the wave in the surf. This is normally why surfers are so very happy. Scientifically, in the middle of the curl of the wave, positive icons vibrate like nowhere else in the world. These are like endorphins for all humans. Studies have shown the tremendous effect of the stoke on healing people with disabilities after they have taught them to surf. Thus Australians are surf lovers. We naturally gravitate to the stoke. That is why even though you have been at the beach swimming all day, you come out energised and happy even though a wee bit sunburned.
This sublime choir with the brilliance of Director, Douglas Lawrence, creates the stoke. You will leave the concert zinging with happiness. Sadly, you will have to wait till August for your chance to experience this moment of bliss. The Australian Chamber Choir is already headed overseas for their 7th Acclaimed International Tour, to Denmark, Germany, Belgium, London, and France. When they get back, you have three concerts you can make and your loved ones will not want to miss. This is a lifetime experience, and you cannot get it from DVD. The stoke is about being in the moment, so let the music transport you away to the pounding surf of our Australian home.
You have a chance to get to their last three concerts of their Australian Tour locations at:
Macedon 10 August at 3 pm. Church of Resurrection Corner of Mt Macedone Road and Honour Avenue
Geelong 11 August at 3 pm, Basilica of St Mary of the Angels, 136 Yarra Street, Geelong
Sydney 25 August at 3:30 pm with Amy Johansen, on Organ at the Organ Recital Series, the Great Hall, the University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW
See their website for details.
These concerts would not be achievable without generous donations. Tickets sales only account for a portion of revenue required to keep this group creating and touring. So this is your chance to generously support the art and culture and heritage of our own Australian Island. See their website for details to keep this Choir alive for many generations to come.