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The keeper of hundreds of Kwakwaka’wakw songs, Kwaksistalla Wathl’thla (Clan Chief Adam Dick), chanting at a feast (qui’las) with Mayanilh (Dr. Daisy Sewid-Smith). (Bert Crowfoot)

Indigenous song keepers reveal traditional ecological knowledge in music

Ancestral Indigenous songs often encode territorial responsibilities and rights, such as in relationship with 'lokiwey' (coastal clam gardens) on the Pacific Northwest Coast.
A hollow-log coffin painted with Dhal̲waŋu clan Octopus, Perahu Hull, Anchor and Coral Sunset motifs at Gurrumuru against a coral sunset on the horizon. Photo: Aaron Corn

Friday essay: how Indigenous songs recount deep histories of trade between Australia and Southeast Asia

Yothu Yindi's music introduced the world to the Yolŋu clan traditions of northeast Arnhem Land. But few listeners know these songs echo long histories of engagement with Southeast Asian visitors.
Composer William Barton in 2013. Indigenous composers have long been working in the field, but the contribution of Indigenous music and culture to Australian composition deserves greater recognition. David Crosling/AAP

It’s time to properly acknowledge - and celebrate - Indigenous composers

Australian composers have long referenced Indigenous music and culture in their works. A new platform paper suggests a more collaborative way forward.
Yothu Yindi performing in 2000. Their songs offered hope and strength to generations of Yolŋu people. Dean Lewins/AAP

My favourite album: Yothu Yindi’s Tribal Voice

The songs of Tribal Voice offered hope and strength to generations of Yolŋu people and gave audiences elsewhere a rare insight into the resolve and aspirations of Indigenous Australia.
Dr Yunupiŋu’s music is steeped in the culture of his people, the Yolŋu of northeast Arnhem Land. Dan Himbrechts/AAP

How Dr G.Yunupiŋu took Yolŋu culture to the world

The music of Dr G. Yunupiŋu, who has died at just 46, draws strength and inspiration from Manikay, the sacred song tradition performed by the Yolŋu when conducting public ceremonies.
Indigenous games like ‘Honour Water’ can teach Indigenous values and ceremonial practices. Honour Water/Elizabeth LaPensée

Video games encourage Indigenous cultural expression

A strengthening movement of Indigenous designers and developers is working to show Indigenous cultures, teachings, languages and ways of knowing through video games.
Is the system broken? 'Record Player' via www.shutterstock.com

Are the Grammys really about good music?

After winning his Grammy in 1996, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder said, 'I don't think this means anything.' Was he right?
Dan Sultan played a defiant version of Midnight Oil’s The Dead Heart at 1967: Music in the Key of Yes. Prudence Upton

Celebrating the songs of Australia’s civil rights movement

From My Island Home to Treaty, Indigenous musical luminaries gathered in Sydney on Tuesday to sing classic songs marking the fiftieth anniversary of the 1967 referendum.
Does Psy represent the future of music? AAP/ Yonhap News Agency

The Brisbane Declaration: a blueprint for the musical world

Earlier this year the number of views of South Korean mega-star Psy’s Gangnam Style YouTube video exceeded two billion. That’s more than a quarter of the people on the planet who have watched the video…
Jimblah isn’t the only Indigenous rapper delivering witty and nuanced social messages. AAP/ NUZULU/ Averie Harvey

Aboriginal hip-hop meets Iranian diaspora in a cross-border rap

Rap music is a transnational genre with many socially and culturally aware artists pursuing important collaborative projects – not least a current pairing in south-west Sydney. Indigenous rapper Izzy (Jacob…

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