Gurrumul, who joined Yothu Yindi in 1989 and appeared on the band’s 1991 album tribal voiceSung in English and the Gaalpu, Gumatj and Djambarrpuyngu languages of Northeast Arnhem Land.
Melbourne-based author Robert Hillman said that, like Arende, these languages were spoken by only a few thousand people.
“There used to be hundreds of Aboriginal languages in Australia, descended from much older languages,” Hillman wrote in his 2013 book. Gurrumul: His Life and Music.
“What Gurrumul’s voice brings to his songs is the beauty created by a culture that has endured for thousands of years and has maintained its integrity for two thousand generations.”
Edmond Doolan, a musician and support worker at Children’s Ground, said children singing Incorporating their favorite artists, various musical styles and recording methods.
“It’s combining old ways with new ways, using clap sticks and making lyric videos on iPads, taking old ways and combining them with new technology,” he said.
“It works really well and the kids love listening to the music and being involved.”
ARIA-nominated singer-songwriter and Gumbaynggirr woman, Emma Donovan, released children’s songs in English and Aboriginal languages and applauded the Children’s Playground project.
“I wasn’t exposed to a lot of languages growing up, so that’s part of the reason I make children’s songs for my community,” Donovan said. “Our language is being strengthened, and my music is a vehicle to deliver a message to my children so they can learn and hear things that I don’t have… Stories about home, stories about growing up.
“I love what Emily Wurramara recorded Kookaburra sitting on old eucalyptus tree In her language, Groote [Eylandt] language. I play that to my kids so they know that version and they love it too.
“Even outside of Aboriginal communities, people tend to use Aboriginal names and people are owning it now. It’s a recognition of the country, ownership of these local languages, songs and places … but also where they live or work , or an acknowledgment of where they came from.”
Artists such as Baker Boy, Budjerah, Emily Wurramara, DRMNGNOW, Christine Anu and King Stingray have recorded songs in Aboriginal languages.
Three years ago Mitch Tambo sang John Farnham’s chart-topping you are the voice Gamilaraay language with Farnham and the late Olivia Newton-John as part of the Fire Fight Australia concert.
Tambo posted his version you are the voice Two months ago, it was called “one of the greatest Australian songs of all time”.
“I wanted to express myself by singing this piece in the beautiful language of my people and show that music itself is a universal language,” he said.
Edmond Doolan says Black Rock Band from West Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory had another influence on Arrernte artists children singing project.
“Black Rock Band got us started making music, and they supported Children’s Ground at the top,” he said. “They sing in their language and they have deadly songs … positive songs with good messages for young people.”
Ampe-mape Alyelheme (Children’s Song) It will be released worldwide in August.