Gurrumul’s Foundation delivered a highly successful workshop program again this year through Barunga school, run by James Mangohig along with school Music Teacher Ben Andrews. More kids became involved this time – with song writing, beat-making and also with rehearsing and performance. Groups often came after school as well to keep working on ideas they’d already started, or practise drums, using the gear and singing.
The workshops focused around creating rhythms and songs with a very hands on approach. Sometimes favourite songs from local Indigenous bands were used as well as remix tools to add their own creative ideas.
James reports that with a young boy named Reshawn “we wrote a great song together and practised it hard, then performed in front of the whole school. A young drummer was going to accompany him but ended up getting a bit of stage fright. Another drummer, Desmond, filled in and the performance was awesome. The school principal Adrian (Trost) messaged me after assembly saying –
‘…that event today was solid gold assembly material. Inspiring and home grown…’ “
The big finale for Barunga Beats was at the Barunga Festival in June and was a huge success. The students ran the disco, MC’d it, played electronic drums and worked with the samplers and other gear they’d been learning to use. Their confidence was boosted by having their music idols – members of B2M from the Tiwi Islands – up on stage alongside them. Performances at the Festival were in front of not only their own community but a few thousand visitors.
One of the most exciting experiences for the students was to hear their own songs and music in full concert mode on the big PA system and with a great lighting rig. They now have more skills that will be used regularly at local events and there is already planning for how they can keep up the momentum with more workshops towards the next Festival and other community celebrations.