Yothu Yindi and The Treaty Project supported by Yirrmal.

We arrived early at the Tivoli, picked up the tickets from the box office – general admission standing. The small space has a beautiful art deco old world feel, in the lighting, mirrors and elegantly crafted bar. We took 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 treated us to his classic songs and also his 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 such a strong mystical experience. The unrestrained but sensitive, determined, beautiful performance that connected to every level of energy within me. The whining high pitch of some 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 there was 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.

Rovers

 

Rovers is the first show in the seven that I will see for the citizen reviewer role that I have been gifted from Brisbane Festival and Aruga PR. I placed Rovers as one of the top picks on my wish list. As a woman and mother myself, I am fascinated with how our mothers and ancestors influence our lives. How we all hold the wisdom and knowledge in our DNA from our ancestors. How we have rooted in us the traits and lessons from stories of the women before us deep within our center. I wanted to see this show with my West End living friend that I share many great stories with, so, I traveled an hour south to Brisbane to pick up my plus one and take us for a night out.

The show started with a welcome to country, this always gets me in the heart, I was equally in love with the use of the traditional language spoken by Roxy / Jessie. The use of simple props meant that the focus was on the women on stage bouncing off each other’s energy and enjoying performing together after 21 years. The comedy came as side splitting relief to what could’ve been an intense and heavy piece of work. The voice over added a modern multi-media facet to the show.

Barbara and Roxy / Barbara and Jessie traveled, to the center of the country and heart. Rovers was about four women, played by two in one show. The layers of four women was intricately knitted together in a back and forth weave between reality, memories and stories. The tales of wild, tough women trekking the depths of their hearts and country, memories exaggerated or diminished by the retelling of the tale over time. Barbara and Roxy pulled from the heart of their knowledge, skills and friendship to take the audience seated in the intimate space of The Block at QUT’s Theatre Republic, on a funny, drama filled adventure exploring and reliving the important stories, memories and women that shaped them – Aunty Barbara and Grandma Jessie. At some stages in the hour long show, I was anxious that I had missed important parts of the back and forth story. However, writer Katherine Lyall-Watson and director Caroline Dunphy had that covered with one or both coming out of her character and clarifying the memory or the story and where the recollection or tale originated. The show ended on a fun note, we left with a smile on our face and wrote positive comments on the feedback form given as we exited.

Whenever my West End friend and I go to an art gallery we always pick our favorite art work. So what was my favorite part of Rovers. The intimacy of the setting and the language. I took away from it that, the work we do on ourselves emotionally, spiritually, and how we push ourselves out of our comfort zones and explore our hearts and country is what carries on in DNA. Our stories and memories will be recalled and carried on to future generations. So be the wild, adventurous, funny lady.

VISIBLE

I am not the type of woman that enjoys going places on my own, I would prefer to share an experience with family or friends. However, if I am at a book store, art gallery or museum please don’t come near me or talk to me. Leave me be in my own world, let me sink in to the emotions of the work, the beauty or the ugliness. I had to make the trek to Brisbane to pick up goodies for the Brisbane festival that I am a citizen reviewer for, so while I was in town I made the most of the opportunity and visited QAG.

A city dwelling friend knows my love for a bit of culture and recommended I have a look at the Tony Albert ‘Visible’ installation.

I illegally parked at the office of PR company Aruga to pick up my food and wine vouchers, t-shirt and lanyard for the Brisbane Festival, I raced out of there before I got towed. Paid the $17 for parking at the cultural centre and bought a burnt, too strong coffee from the museum cafe, forcing it down at an outside table watching the rain clean the city trying to remember the floor I parked my car on.

My city dwelling friend and I always pick a favourite piece whenever we visit a gallery together, the pieces I have chosen as favourites for the Tony Albert work were not visually beautiful, but emotionally moving. The “Moving Targets” 2015 is a stripped back shell of a car with the bonnet and boot popped open, TV screens fill the inside of the car with images of young indigenous males. The blacked out space is intensified with the walls covered in wallpaper. The wallpaper being digital images of bare chested aboriginal males with a target positioned over the centre of their chest, these images made up the award winning series “Brothers” 2013, the brothers are young men from the Kirinari Hostel in King’s Cross. The dark space, the stripped car, the stares of the indigenous men lining the walls was intense. I had a sense of fear, intimidation, and darkness a feeling of wanting to flee from the dark back into the light airy open space of the gallery. The red targets on the chests of the young men plastered on the walls signifys the men as targets of society. However, I was drawn to their chests, to the targets and thought of the hearts that beat there, the history, the ancestral wisdom that pumps in their blood.

On the outside wall of the “Moving targets”, The “Aboriginalia” wall hung. A white wall covered in kitsch household items popular for the 50’s and 60’s coffee mugs, salt and pepper shakers, tea towels, ash trays and souvenirs, commemorative tea spoons, wall hangings, figurines and a pinball machine decorated with images and caricatures of indigenous people, in the colour pallet and textures of the time green, orange, brown a bit of velvet, plastic and wood. The Aboriginalia wall was equally racist, fascinating and disturbing. I didn’t spend much time in front of the wall, but the piece stayed in my mind. It made me sad- these items are so recent in our cultural history. It made me want to spend time with works that celebrate the indigenous culture. I do love that the work hasn’t left me, that it has raised awareness, thought and conversation.

Like I said not beautiful pieces but thoughtful conversation starters. My favourite.