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White Cockatoo performers to visit University


Zoe Satherley
8 June 2007
North Coast audiences will have the rare opportunity of experiencing the electrifying atmosphere of a traditional Western Arnhem Land corroboree when the internationally acclaimed White Cockatoo Performing Group comes to Lismore next week.

They will perform at Lismore City Hall, at 7pm on Wednesday, June 13. The following day, June 14, they will give a short performance and public lecture at Southern Cross University, from 10am – 11am at the Whitebrook Theatre, in Y Block, at the Lismore campus.

At the University, the song men and dancers will explain the deeper meaning behind their cultural traditions and dances, with some of the information being presented in language and translated through an interpreter.

The White Cockatoo Performing Group features two song men, two dancers and musician Darryl Dikarrna, regarded as the greatest living exponent of the Kun-borrk didjeridu tradition. Kun-borrk are songs and dances of life, relationships, love and humour. The emotions and actions of people and ‘spirits’ are played out in fine detail and are accompanied by a special type of didjeridu called ‘mago’.

“This is compelling music and dance from one of the oldest artistic traditions on the planet. The repertoire covers ancient works as well as songs by living composers; this is Australian classical music!” said John Allan, director of the sponsoring organisation, Spirit of the Land Foundation.

The Foundation is collaborating with LightnUp, organisers of the Lismore Lantern Parade, which is partly sponsored by Southern Cross University, to develop an Indigenous cultural program for the annual event.

They are starting by bringing the White Cockatoo Performing Group to Lismore for a concert the week before the parade and hope to expand their involvement in future years.

The Lantern Festival is being held on the weekend of June 23 and 24. The parade of lanterns through the streets of Lismore CBD begins from the carpark behind the Lismore City Library at 5.30pm on the Saturday night.

Jyllie Jackson, director of LightnUp, said she was delighted to be able to link with Spirit of the Land Foundation. “The White Cockatoo concert is a taste of things to come. We can build on this and work together to bring more of the rich traditions of Australia to the Northern Rivers,” she said.

White Cockatoo have an impressive international profile and are highly regarded in the USA, Europe and Asia. They rarely perform in Australia. Following their Lismore visit they will be performing in Paris and all over Europe for the summer world music festival season, for which they are in great demand.

Tickets for the Lismore City Hall concert are $20 or $16 concession. Admission to the Southern Cross University lecture and performance, sponsored by Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples, are by gold coin donation. All profits support the work of the Spirit of the Land Foundation. Tickets are available at Caddies Coffee Shop, Lismore, or at the door.

Spirit of the Land Foundation works in the areas of intergenerational learning, inter-cultural sharing, cultural recording and cultural renewal through direct administration of projects and support for worthy projects run by other organisations.

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Photo: Catch the White Cockatoo Performing Group at Lismore City Hall and Southern Cross University next week.