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Djinama Yilaga and Songs From Yuin Country ... onward and upward...off to Canberra


‘Songs from Yuin Country’, is the outstanding, much lauded musical collaboration between the Four Winds’ Djinama Yilaga Yuin Choir and musicians and artists from surrounding areas (Mudjingaals).

Above: Djinama Yilaga Choir at Four Winds Festival Easter 2021

The show of singing, music and spoken word, received a standing ovation at its debut performance at the Four Winds Festival at Easter, and again when the show was presented at the 2021 Candelo Village Festival in April.

It won’t surprise you that Songs from Yuin Country has taken on a life of its own and will be hitting the road to Canberra in June, for performances in the Gandel Atrium at the National Museum of Australia during Reconciliation Week. (June 5, 11am - for more information click here)

“It is so encouraging and heart-warming that this show, our Dhurga language and our culture is being so fully embraced by audiences,” enthuses Four Winds Aboriginal Creative Producer Cheryl Davison, who established and led the choir through bushfires, COVID, sorry business and its fledgling year.

“In the beginning we were singing old hymns like ‘Old Rugged Cross’ and whilst our mob love singing, it just didn’t feel right, and we weren’t getting the community buy-in that we needed”. Davison enlisted the support of Westpac Research Fellow, Dr Lou Bennett and “with her help and guidance songs in our own language just came pouring out, from all the choir members,” Cheryl explains.

Throughout the 75-minute show, the choir’s songs in language are woven in and around the songs and stories from Candelo musicians and poets. These words sit beside the poignant rapping of Yuin hip hop artist, Gabadu. What has transpired is a show that truly resonates with people, connecting with audiences and with community. People want this in their backyard!

Djinama Yilaga choir is revitalising their language through song, making it accessible and easy to share, not only amongst the Yuin community, but with non-Indigenous artists and audiences across the region.

The choir sings of things that are important to them: maintaining their cultural skills, knowing how to hunt and gather, and live from ‘your place’ on this earth. Through songs in Dhurga language, the choir are honouring their creator beings and their ancient stories.

In Songs from Yuin Country Candelo artists, The New Graces, Raechelle Kennedy, Sam Martin, Heath Cullen, David Ross Macdonald (The Waifs), Pete Wild, and Tamlyn Magee (Anactoria) also sing and speak of their lives, of their ancestors and their life experiences, relationships and connections that have led them here, to now, to Yuin Country. Together the ensemble sings about the things they want to see changed, and Gabadu reminds us ‘We Matter’.

The message from Songs from Yuin Country is that together, our community can connect, share and support each other in facing a wide range of 21st century challenges. Four Winds 2021 Festival Creative Director, Lindy Hume, has long recognised the value and importance of promoting and encouraging the regional and local. Her vision has paid off.

Songs from Yuin County is unique, and yet relatable, a collaboration of amazing people, have brought it into existence” says Four Winds Create and Inspire Producer, Lara Crew.

“It has been a pleasure and a privilege to partner with Four Winds via the Museum’s Cultural Connections program and support Djinama Yilaga choir and their vital work revitalising the Dhurga language. We are excited for Museum audiences to share in the choir’s beautiful music and experience the healing power of returning language to community and Country through song” - Shannyn Palmer, Community Engagement and Partnerships Manager, Cultural Connections Initiative.

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