Southern Cross Soloists Maps and Journeys

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Posted 2023-02-11 by Mistress of Culture Vulturesfollow

Wed 08 Feb 2023

Southern Cross Soloists – Maps and Journeys

On Wednesday 8 February 2023, the Southern Cross Soloists performed Maps and Journeys in the Elisabeth Murdoch Hall as part of the Melbourne Recital Centre's Season One: Horizon program

Maps and Journeys is an ambitious one-hour collaboration featuring Aboriginal artists Chris Williams on didgeridoo, Eric Avery on violin and Paula Nazarski who narrates the stories of Aboriginal astronomy, supported by the Southern Cross Soloists ensemble.

This performance was created as part of the Southern Cross Soloists Didgeridoo Commissioning Project - a ten year plan to create works featuring First Nations Artists, to promote cultural understanding and a 'canon of works' leading up to the 2032 Olympics in Brisbane.

Chris Williams is a Wakka Wakka didgeridoo soloist (amongst other instruments he plays) and a permanent artist in residence with Southern Cross Soloists.

Maps and Journeys opens with an Acknowledgment of Country by Eric Avery with Chris Williams on didgeridoo and a stunning lighting design that highlights the textured walls of the Elisabeth Murdoch Hall – like songlines and dreaming tracks .

The performance includes compositions by Sean O'Boyle who collaborated with William Barton on his Concerto for Didgeridoo (2001).

%%Sun, Moon, Stars and Dreaming: '12 Vignettes'
Awakening: Venus
The Rainbow Serpent
Djulpan: Orion
Wodliparri: The Milky Way%%

Actor Paula Delaney-Nazarski narrates the Aboriginal creation stories about the constellations and the formation of the many landscapes of Australia. Paula was recently nominated for 'Best Actor in a Leading Role' in 'Queen's City' for a Matilda Award .

The stories are accompanied by images of the desert, the bush, the sea, constellations, Orion, the Sun and Moon and Australian native animals.

A highlight of Maps and Journeys is Emu in the Sky composed and performed by Eric Avery who graces the stage to perform a violin solo, and sings in his Aboriginal language with some traditional dance moves.

The performance continued with songs composed by Sean O'Boyle and Eric Avery.

Ginan: Songs of KnowledgeLarrawag: the signal watcherWurren: Shooting starsDirawong: goannaUnurgunite: ancestor

The Morning Star takes the souls to the dreaming by Eric Avery
Barnumbirr: the Morning Star by Sean O'BoyleDawn: The Rising Spirits by Eric AveryThe First Sunrise by Sean O'BoyleFIRE from Didgeridoo Concerto by Sean O'Boyle

As previously stated, it is an ambitious to give sufficient 'air time' to these songs in a 60-minute show. The Southern Cross Soloists ensemble is a finely cohesive ensemble and their performance of these songs is impeccable with some very challenging instrumentation.

Creating the sounds of the sky, the rainforest, the animals and the dessert on orchestral instruments really shows the expertise and agility of this ensemble. However, the significance of the storytelling can be lost in a very short timeframe.

Experiencing Maps and Journeys with respect to the Aboriginal concept of time and listening would allow the audience time to 'stargaze' and reflect on the wonder and significance of these ancient astronomical insights. Ideally, Maps and Journeys could be programmed as a full night's performance with an interval to really give these songs and stories the attention they deserve.

I hope Maps and Journeys continues to tour and I look forward to hearing more collaborations from the Southern Cross Soloists.

The Southern Cross ensemble includes Chris Williams on didgeridoo, Eric Avery on violin, Tania Frazer on oboe, Ashley Smith on clarinet, David Silva on flute, Natalia Edwards on French horn, Robert Smith on violin, Courtenay Cleary on violin, James Wannan on viola, Gemma Kneale on cello, Maxwell Foster on piano and Paula Nazarski as narrator.

!date 08/02/2023 -- 08/02/2023
211182 - 2023-06-16 06:34:26


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