Working with indigenous artists

Working with Indigenous artists has given me a greater empathy for and understanding of the issues facing the Indigenous people of Australia today.  I composed the music for two films by Indigenous film maker Donna Ives (Media Nomads and A Memory) This project was done in partnership with the Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Media Association (TAIMA). To compose the music I had to get to know the people and understand their problems and how it affected them personally. Both films focused on people or groups disadvantaged or discriminated against by the current Eurocentric socio-political structure, and both documentaries were aired on SBS TV.

I was commissioned by the Palm Island Council, to record Indigenous elders singing traditional songs. I was overwhelmed, and consider myself fortunate to have shared the emotional impact that the elders experienced hearing their voices recorded and played back for the first time.

In Townsville I have produced, performed with or recorded Indigenous artists as varied as singer song writer Patrick Levi, comedian Sean Choolburra and with various artists at radio station 4KIG, such as country singer Tonky Logan, rapper Alex Friday, and more recently hip hop performers Twin City Thievez and singer/songwriter Yunbii (aka john Phillips).

In 2004 I spent half a year establishing a recording studio at the Cleveland Youth Detention Centre in Townville; I taught the students - many of them Indigenous, and Detention Centre staff how to use the equipment. The project helped them develop skills, capacities and self esteem. I mentored them and gave them technical advice as they wrote and recorded an album featuring songs about issues that confront youth today.

In 2006 I began to assist the Townsville Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Centre in Townsville (TATSICC), designing and operating PAs and providing MC work for them. More recently for TATSICC I have worked with Indigenous musician William Barton, and at the 2010 music and multi media festival, See Hear Now, with dancer and artist Gail Mabo.