Adelaide students feature at major festival

The CASM choir, Keriba Wakai, in rehearsal for the festival.

The CASM choir, Keriba Wakai, in rehearsal for the festival.
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Friday, 7 September 2001

AROUND 30 students and staff from Adelaide University will share the stage with some of the biggest names in Australian music at this weekend's Yeperenye Federation Festival in Alice Springs.

The two-day music and dance festival (on September 8 and 9) will be the largest gathering of indigenous communities in Australia's history, bringing together almost 4000 performers.

Students from Australia's leading indigenous music school, the Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music (CASM) at Adelaide University, were invited to take part in the event, which is the biggest held in Australia since the opening and closing ceremonies of the Sydney Olympic Games.

CASM's choir, Keriba Wakai (meaning "Our Voice") will chime in during renditions of "My Island Home" (with Christine Anu and George Warrumbu) and "Yill Lul" (with Joe Geia). But their turn to really shine is when they share the spotlight with renowned Australian songwriters Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody, singing "From Little Things Big Things Grow".

"Our students are thrilled about performing at the event," said CASM coordinator Ms Jenny Newsome.

"This represents a tribute to our students' skills, and it's a significant achievement for them. Attending an event such as this during the course of their learning is something the students will never forget."

Ms Newsome said Kelly and Carmody's song "From Little Things..." had become a modern-day anthem of Aboriginal rights, and was influential on young musicians both indigenous and non-indigenous.

"It's one of those songs that captures a time and place," Ms Newsome said, referring to the song's re-telling of a true incident involving the Gurindji Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory.

"Some of our students have really related to that song, and now they'll get the chance to sing it in front of a major audience with two of the most influential songwriters of their time."

The Yeperenye Federation Festival is organised by the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association and the National Council for the Centenary of Federation. A 90-minute special produced by ABC TV will go to air on September 9.


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