Songs From A Stolen Senate
First Nation musicians take parliamentary voices and rework them into song and storytelling from the perspective of their own life stories.
Songs from a Stolen Senate features some of Australia’s leading First Nation musicians, who have taken parliamentary voices and reworked them into song and storytelling from the perspective of their own life stories. This is the first instalment of an ongoing series from The Griffyn Ensemble that challenges how Australian identity was forged since European settlement.
Meet five unique Australians from a diversity of genre and backgrounds: Aranda country music icon Warren Williams; inspirational Noongar singer-songwriters Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse, Norah Bagiri from Mua Island in the Torres Straits; Canberra based Christopher Sainsbury from the Dharug nation and Yuin composer Brenda Gifford.
This landmark collaboration weaves together their unique individual reflections of our political landscape through music they have written for the acclaimed Griffyn Ensemble. From stolen generations to climate politics, Songs from a Stolen Senate offers different perspectives of our national past and the Australian parliament.
Songs from a Stolen Senate was premiered online in conjunction with Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary, a significant site for Ngunnawal people in the Canberra region.
This project is now looking for next performance and commissioning opportunities, with a vision to add a new work by a First Nations Composer every time this work is presented to a new audience.
“This project is a major leap forward in this country… I think this is exciting not just for indigenous composers but for Australian music. We were once hearing indigenous culture filtered through the hands of white composers. Now people are saying they want to hear indigenous culture from indigenous composers. This has been a big shift over the last five years – there is still more traction to be gained in that shift, but it’s certainly started which is pretty exciting.”
Dharug composer Chris Sainsbury,
Winner of the inaugural Luminary Award at the 2020 Art Music Awards
Country music icon Warren Williams explores his background as a climate political advocate, and inspirational Noongar singer-songwriters Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse write music from the voices of those who wrote the rabbit-proof fence policy. In other works, Yuin composer Brenda Gifford is inspired by her own experience of youth incarceration; Norah Bagiri from Mua Island writes about climate change in the Torres Strait, and Christopher Sainsbury from the Dharug nation sets the words of indigenous MP Ken Wyatt.
Featuring some of Australia’s most innovative leaders in chamber, folk, opera, new music, and composition, The Griffyn Ensemble seamlessly cross pollenate between genres of music and other artforms to create a unique experience of live performance, inspiring audiences and communities to question the world around us. The Griffyn Ensemble are directed by composer Michael Sollis.
Belconnen Arts Centre
118 Emu Bank
ACT 2617, Australia
+61 411 113 769