The Mpakwithi Songs-on-Country Workshop overlapped wonderfully with the Story and Illustration Workshop. It was evident that the children’s books the group were working on also provided perfect material to fashion into songs; Susan Kennedy’s book ‘Kaffry’ transformed easily with the simple addition of a chorus.

 width=PLC member, Joshua McHugh, played a few chords on the piano and the group started singing the words to the book together. It was amazing how melodies arose so easily from natural speech intonation. One phrase led to the next and before long a catchy song emerged.

The song and book will be published together as an e-book-a wonderful resulting synergy from the blending of different workshops. As the Kennedy sisters became familiar with the song-writing process, creative ideas sprang forth effortlessly-eight songs in total.

Workshop leader and composer Joshua McHugh, said “I was thrilled to return to Bamaga to see a whole generation of school children sing Pimi, Dhwithi, Chumu, a song about a woodpecker that Vikki wrote for one of the workshops. I was incredibly moved to witness a precious language being sung back to life.”

Joshua’s Songs-on-Country workshops with Cape York Peninsula ALATs are creating a bright and positive future for children’s culture and intergenerational transmission in our First Nation languages.


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