We arrived early at the Tivoli, picked up our tickets from the box office – general admission standing. The space at the Tivoli has an art deco, old world feel, in the lighting, mirrors and elegantly crafted bar. We secured our place at the front of the intimate flat area in front of the stage – I wanted a good view of Yothu Yindi (Yolngu for “child and mother”) the band that has won eight ARIA awards and in 2012 was inducted into the ARIA hall of fame.
The acknowledgment of country and the minutes silence for ancestors was the foundation of the show. Yirrmal a sensitive, open hearted man from North-East Arnhem Land, supported Yothu Yindi and The Treaty Project, a songwriter and guitarist he treated us to his classic songs and also new work that will be released next year. That man. He has a striking voice, a voice that produces ground shaking vocals that express his own very personal experiences and stories through his songs. Then came the highlight, Yothu Yindi and The Treaty Project, some of the classics they played were: World Turning, Timeless Land, Mabo and of course Treaty.
All day, I was excited to see a band at The Tivoli, enjoy some music, and have a champagne. I was thrilled that I had been gifted these tickets as part of the Brisbane Festival. What I didn’t expect to feel at a concert on a Sunday night in Fortitude Valley, was a strong mystical experience. Unrestrained but sensitive, determined, beautiful performance connected to every level of energy within me. The whining high pitch of voices in language, the vast grounding echoes that seemed to shake from the earth through their bodies into the songs. The deep vibration of the didgeridoo, the rhythmic blow of the clapping sticks. Then the contemporary electric guitar, piano and saxophone complemented the traditional sounds in the new work that has been created. The beat, words, and movement went for two and a half hours, the crowd swelled at 8.45pm when Yothu Yindi and The Treaty Project came out to entertain. I stood with an unobstructed view of the stage with my husband at my back and the rest of the crowd moving and dancing along with the flow of the music, the stomping of feet and the music made the floor pulsate, I was totally caught up in the palpitation, moving with the beat and the ancient sounds reaching all the way into my heart.
I drove the hour home thrumming with energy, but also teary and tired, like I had emerged from a deep meditation. The sounds and energy had moved something within me. The power of the words in the songs, the indigenous sounds, and the energy that was brewed in the venue was incredible.