Songs for Freedom

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Songs for Freedom

Unity, culture, and hope come together in this inspiring celebration of community.

Songs for Freedom is an inspiring concert bringing audiences soul, blues, and unique country music, created by artists in the Ieramugadu community (Roebourne, WA) and beyond. Driven by Australia’s leading arts and social change organisation Big hART, this uplifting project aims to advocate for change by raising awareness of the disproportionate incarceration rates of Aboriginal children in Australian prisons. A powerful example of what can be accomplished through song and community, Songs for Freedom has been gaining momentum throughout its national tour this year, including performances at Mona Foma in Hobart, Perth Festival, and Darwin Entertainment Centre.

Performing with special guests from throughout this country, Songs for Freedom tells stories of the striking beauty of this vast place and its people. Guided by Ngarluma and Yinjibarndi Elders, the concert pays tribute to the family of John Pat in the 40th anniversary year of his passing in custody. With Musical Direction by Grammy Award winner Lucky Oceans and powerful narration by Ngarluma man, Patrick Churnside, this moving performance is the tangible manifestation of a project that has been running since 2010.

With its lush, earthy instrumentation and compelling songwriting, witness the first single from the album, ‘Songs of Freedom’, written by Yamatji man, Fred Ryan. ‘Fred Ryan came to a songwriting workshop with this song and the Elders loved it,’ says musical director Lucky Oceans. ‘The lyrics contained the line, “There’s a song for this land, girt by sea.” I wondered, ‘why repeat the worst line of the national anthem?’ but Fred explains in the next line, ‘I want to hear a song for me,’ highlighting how a national song could mean so much more for him and other Aboriginal people. This song has now become an anthem in its own right.’

Supported by Elders, this project delivers workshops in the community, school, and prison, creating digital content, music, theatre, and performances to drive positive change in Ieramugadu and beyond. The performance in the Elisabeth Murdoch Hall marks the last stop of the tour before the ensemble return to Roebourne for a final home-town presentation on the 40th anniversary of John Pat’s passing.

Join us in this celebration as we welcome everyone to this family-friendly concert that will fill your night with hope, peace, and freedom.