Per­for­mance cel­e­brates an­niver­sary

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Per­era

Cel­e­bra­tions fo­cused on 150 years of Roe­bourne as well as 50,000 years of lo­cal indige­nous cul­ture and his­tory at the of­fi­cial town an­niver­sary launch, held at the Ngurin Cul­tural Cen­tre last Wednes­day.

The main at­trac­tion was the in­ter-cul­tural Tjaabi show, a high-tech per­for­mance of song, dance, story and vis­ual im­agery that wove to­gether 10 of the unique indige­nous song forms from fam­i­lies in and around the Roe­bourne area.

It cov­ered Ngar­luma, Yind­jabarndi, Mar­duthunera, Kari­yarra, Kur­ruma and Ban­jima coun­tries and had the crowd en­thralled by sto­ries happy, sad and ex­cit­ing.

About 950 peo­ple — roughly the pop­u­la­tion of Roe­bourne — turned out to watch the first­time per­for­mance, which was the re­sult of a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Roe­bourne Ngar­luma man and lead per­former Pa­trick Churn­side, arts so­cial jus­tice group Big hART and com­mu­nity mem­bers.

Churn­side said the over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive au­di­ence re­sponse marked a “com­mis­sion­ing” of the show, which may go on to tour fur­ther afield.

“It’s a re­flec­tion of that cul­ture, but also how this age-old cul­ture has been in­te­grated and still is con­tin­u­ing in main­stream Roe­bourne,” he said.

“It was a story I wanted to give back to the el­ders of this com­mu­nity.

“In the last 150 years they would have seen a lot of changes ... but from their per­spec­tive, those Tjaabi and those songs are some­thing that brings a feel­ing out in them.

“And that I guess is some­thing I can’t put a price on, be­cause I know that singing and that cul­ture, it in­stils pride in our el­ders, but it also ed­u­cates our younger gen­er­a­tions about the im­por­tance of that cul­ture.”

City of Kar­ratha Mayor Peter Long spoke on be­half of the City as a sponsor of the Roe­bourne an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions, while Yind­jibarndi elder Toot­sie Daniels gave a pow­er­ful speech re­flect­ing on the ad­ver­si­ties its peo­ple had en­dured and over­come in the past 150 years.

Big hART cre­ative direc­tor and Tjaabi writer and direc­tor Scott Rankin said the town’s an­niver­sary was the per­fect time to recog­nise the strong liv­ing cul­ture of Roe­bourne, which he called “the cen­tre of the Abo­rig­i­nal world in the Pil­bara”.

“(It’s been) 150 years since Euro­pean peo­ple came here, but the con­ti­nu­ity which is go­ing for­ward and goes into the past is also a thing to cel­e­brate,” he said.

“And re­ally, 150 years is (six or seven) gen­er­a­tions, and we’re talk­ing about 2000 gen­er­a­tions of con­ti­nu­ity and cul­ture, into which this lit­tle mo­ment in time has come, and new fu­tures are be­ing built.”

Pic­tures: Ali­cia Per­era

Tjaabi per­form­ers take in the ap­plause at the end of the show.

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