Two more clips of the Ltyentye Apurte Drummers’ pinnacle, ground-shaking performance at Federation Square in Melbourne last May for Long Walk 2013.
Two more clips of the Ltyentye Apurte Drummers’ pinnacle, ground-shaking performance at Federation Square in Melbourne last May for Long Walk 2013.
The following excerpt is from a research document conducted through the Illinois Wesleyan University by psychology honors student Lauren Hansen.
The study was conducted in 2011 and is the first of it’s kind. The results are exciting and in line with our experiences and outcomes over the past 10 years.
The study is evaluating components of Dr Bruce Perry’s Neurosequential Method Therapy and Sensorimotor Intervention in Children who have experienced trauma.
Please read the full study if you have the time as it gives a thorough description of the neurobiological effects of childhood trauma on the brain’s development, and the positive outcomes of these therapeutic interventions.
“The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a bilateral sensorimotor intervention on children who have experienced complex trauma. In implementing this intervention, we used the concepts from the NMT as well as other sensorimotor principles.
The intervention was comprised of three different categories of treatment- drum circles, spinning groups, and movement therapy. Each of these activities emphasized the principles of NMT and sensorimotor interventions. It is also important to note that the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services as adopted the principles of the NMT as a promising, evidenced-based model, and recommends incorporating these activities into treatment (Illinois Department of Child and Family Services, 2008).
Drum circles have become increasingly popular in clinical treatment, although studies evaluating them are still very limited. Drumming has been suggested to be effective in the treatment of clinical disorders for multiple reasons, many of which correspond with the principles of NMT and sensorimotor interventions.
The results of the Bittman et al. (2001) study suggest that drumming is effective because it increases attunement to rhythm (which is essential to basic human functions), increases group attunement and cohesion, increases fine motor skill abilities, and increases group identity and a feeling of belongingness.
In order for the drum circles to be effective, group members must pay attention to the other members of the group and must all play to a central rhythm. This causes the child to attune to others and to how others are responding to them. This attunement helps to increase group association and bonding (Lang, 1990).
In addition to increasing attunement, drumming has also been used as a form of music therapy with PTSD victims. Bensimon et al. (2008) proposed that traumatic memories are presented in the form of flashbacks and nightmares, which are very primitive and are typically stimulated by similar sensory output.
According to this theory, traumatic memories are stored in inflexible, primitive structures of the brain and are not easily stored as other memories. According to Bensimon et al., this leads to “an inability to translate sensory motor representations, processed apparently in the right hemisphere, into meaningful symbolic and verbal representations which are processed apparently in the left side. This may result in disability to translate emotions into words”, which can explain why traumatized children have difficulty expressing what they are feeling (pg. 36).
Furthermore, they argue that music and traumatic memories are sensory-mediated, and so drumming may serve as a way to access and reprocess these memories without having to talk about them. Qualitative data indicated that the participants felt a strong sense of group belongingness that was established during the drum circles. The results of this study further supported the concept of increasing group belongingness and attunement to others. For these reasons, the present study included drum circles in the intervention.”
Here is a link to the full paper: Evaluating a Sensorimotor Intervention in Children who have Experienced Complex Trauma: A Pilot Study
Finally! A slice of The Ltyentye Apurte Drummers most recent showcase concert at Melbourne’s Federation Square for Long Walk 2013 .
For this honoury occasion, as you will see, appreciate and celebrate, they gave their finest performance yet!
Basking in the glory of a tour mission accomplished, Ba-Boom! and the L.A. Drummers flew out of Melbourne’s grey southern skies, back into the Central Desert’s crystal blue hues. Looking down upon the orange ground and seeing Santa Teresa in the distance, we wondered where and when will we be touring together again.
On Saturday May 25, for the Long Walk 2013 celebrations, Melbourne’s Federation Square was filled with a sea of gathered people, eager to support The Ltyentye Apurte Drummers’ one and only public performance. Among the crowd were Indigenous luminaries, who later shared the same stage for this occasion. The L.A. Drummers’ powerful varied and precise beats resounded throughout the city, making the people in Federation Square dance joyously and cheer loudly, which brought the Drummers a deep sense of recognition, appreciation and joy.
This major public performance represented the pinnacle and goal of months of preparation, work and training and was dedicated to the late school principal, Greg Crowe. The opportunity to present the high-level of youth musical excellence that is being cultivated in Santa Teresa’s school to a wider, Australian audience was initiated by Greg Crowe, who identified the annual The Long Walk celebrations as a suitable arena after the highly successful tour to Darwin in late August last year. Very sadly, Greg Crowe was tragically lost late last year, and we committed ourselves to following through on this, his last wish.
Every year, The Long Walk begins with a community carnival in Federation Square before the celebrated Indigenous footballer and spokesperson for indigenous rights in sport, Michael Long leads the crowd to Dreamtime at the ‘G, which kick starts the Indigenous Round in the AFL. The annual commemoration of his historic walk to Canberrra is now a popular celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander achievement featuring inspiring speeches, great bands, kids activities, market stalls and more.
It was truly an honour for these young desert Drummers to be involved in this high-profile celebration and they gave their most refined and polished performance to date. Many people were eager to remark that their execution of the rhythmically sophisticated and complex arrangements was impeccable and compelling. Ba-Boom! are deeply committed to changing low expectations in the Indigenous education arena by highlighting the skills and abilities of Indigenous youth. Alternative activities and programs can be offered as legitimate pathways of learning and success. This consequently leads to enthusiasm and the desire to learn and achieve further success in more general and mainstream educational options.
Emotional responses to the Ltyentye Apurte Drummers’ performances are deep, as people are overjoyed and many are moved to tears. Other presentations were also given throughout the weeks’ tour to the students and staff at Clonard College in Geelong, Avila College in Mt. Waverly and Assumption College in Kilmore. All of these host schools were very welcoming and highly appreciative of the Drummers’ showcase.
Of course, getting this tour funded took an incredible amount of energy and commitment too. We would like to take this opportunity now to express our gratitude to all of the people involved in practically supporting this tour happen.
- Centrecorp Foundation (grant).
- AFL (donation and game tickets).
- Australia Post (donation and ground transport in Melbourne).
- Tangentyere Council Drum Atweme Program (donation).
- Bob Stewarts School Uniform Specialists (donation of specially embroidered tracksuits).
- Palmer Family (donation of bullock for the raffle).
- Bush Bus (transport to/from Alice Springs Airport).
- Richmond Football Club (a ‘hoodie’ for each student; showbag with beanie and posters; free tour of their newly opened museum and facilities with morning tea supplied; free MCG tour; presentation of a special Indigenous round playing jumper; question and answer time with Shane Edwards (player).
- Essendon Football Club (participation in the Long Walk schools’ program, free tour of club facilities; photo opportunity with three Indigenous players (Ryder, Dempsey and Jetta) and coach James Hird; bbq lunch.
- African Drumming in St.Kilda for instrument hire: dunduns, djembes and percussion.
- Students and Staff of Clonard, Avila and Assumption Colleges in Victoria.
The tour group was accompanied by a core group of dedicated staff whose support we greatly appreciated and would like to acknowledge: Alison Gallio, Barbara and Peter Dempster, Marcus J. Williams, Elaine Gorey and Rachel Palmer.
We would also like to acknowledge the current LACEC school principal, Brother Daniel Hollamby for his time and effort in helping to coordinate and organise the trip.
Last but not least, we sincerely thank all seventeen young members of the Ltyentye Apurte Drummers, who are eager and willing to experience the wide, wonderful world of the performing arts, with all of its challenges and thrills, with Ba-Boom!
Ultimately, the Journey into Rhythm that the entire Ltyentye Apurte School has been on, is not only a journey of hard work, commitment, discipline and dedication, but a journey of joy, pride and empowerment. These feelings are mirrored throughout the community as a whole. We have all gone beyond ourselves to create this phenomenon called the Ltyentye Apurte Drummers over the past 3 years.
Much more work needs to be done. We have seen incredible changes in the individuals in the group and changes in their attitudes towards school and learning in general since we first began our visits to Santa Teresa in 2009, but only a sustainable program can create sustainable change!
And for more tour photos please go to our Facebook page!
After months of determination, concerted effort and preparation, The Ltyentye Apurte Drummers are about to embark on their first interstate tour for their biggest gig ever – performing in Melbourne at Federation Square for the Long Walk Melbourne 2013 celebrations.
This tour and event represents tremendous accomplishment, awareness and recognition for this group of 17 young drummers and Ba-Boom!
If you are in Melbourne, be sure not to miss The Ltyentye Apurte Drummers perform their whole repertoire of five pieces on Federation Square’s main stage between 3 – 4pm on Saturday May 25.
But that’s not all, the Richmond Tigers are pitching to burst through their banner as they take to the MCG field, to the beat of the Ltyentye Apurte Drummers, for a potential audience of 90,000 punters.
Exciting times ahead! Tomorrow we all fly and invite you to follow their adventures in one of the world’s most livable cities via our Facebook page. Share your love and support for the Ltyentye Apurte Drummers on their journey of a lifetime!
The Ltyentye Apurte Drummers, a group of Aboriginal school kids from Santa Teresa in the Central Desert lands of the NT, will be making their first, musical journey interstate. They have been invited to perform on the mainstage at Melbourne’s Federation Square to celebrate the AFL’s Dreamtime at the G Football Carnival on 25 May 2013.
The Long Walk, the significant preceding event, links festivities at Federation Square with the Dreamtime at the G football match, traditionally played by the Richmond Tigers and the Essendon Bombers, and formally marking the AFL’s celebration of indigenous Australian footballers.
This invitation signposts a dramatic milestone for these 17 kids, aged 10 – 14 years, who have been learning the West African ensemble drumming style for the past three years at the Ltyentye Apurte Catholic Education Centre, based in Santa Teresa, 80kms from Alice Springs. They have steadily been gaining skills unparalleled by any other youth music ensemble to emerge out of a Central Desert school.
The Ltyentye Apurte Drummers have been gaining acclaim and a fine sense of achievement in their own Territory where they have opened major festival events in and around Alice Springs and won first place at the Centralian Eistedfodd two years in a row for the Open Percussion Section.
Another great triumph was embarking on their first ever tour in 2012 when they blazed a trail from the desert to the sea – accomplished via an overland camping journey of 3000+km to Darwin. They performed 12 shows in 12 days! Audiences everywhere were amazed, but most especially at the featured performance they gave at the Catholic Schools Performing Arts Festival at the Darwin Entertainment Centre, the pinnacle of the tour, where they performed their whole repertoire unassisted by Ba-Boom!
Achievements like these have created a real buzz in Central Australia. Now, the Drummers are about to embark on a whole new adventure; Traveling interstate for the first time and playing to huge crowds of football fans in Melbourne.
This invitation to perform at the Dreamtime at the G Football Carnival represents a golden opportunity for these young people not only to enjoy the appreciation of a greater, mainstream Australian audience, but also to develop and further their commitment to learning, to inspirational leadership and to open their eyes and minds to possibilities and experiences contained in big cities.
We wish all of you good luck in attracting interest and financial support in this latest, very exciting venture.
And check out all the material on The Ltyentye Apurte Drummers right here on this blog!
The Ltyentye Apurte Drummers have recently completed their first ever tour. Traveling by bus up to the Top End, they performed concerts along the way in Tennant Creek, Mataranka, Katherine with several appearances in Darwin, and culminating in a fully staged, packed-house performance at the Darwin Entertainment Centre as part of the 2012 Catholic Performing Arts Festival.
The 3000+km journey with 17 kids (aged 10-14 yrs), for 12 days & nights (an inconceivable endeavour for most teachers and adults we’ve met along the way) was a huge undertaking and positive learning experience for all.
The result? Widespread public and inter-school acclaim for their impressive skills, a nice kitty full of busking donations, lots of significant, first-time experiences, treats and a journey they will never forget.
They performed a total of 12 gigs: to the general public at Darwin’s groovy market places, for kids in schools, for remote area kids in parks, for a statewide ABC radio audience, at the gigantic Darwin Entertainment Centre and even before the Chief Minister!
Apart from delivering such a strong series of performances, and meeting the challenges of ‘the touring life’ these young, desert performers got to enjoy treats like fish and chips on the wharf, beach-combing, ferry-boat riding, seeing the inspiring movie The Sapphires and hours of bumper fun in Darwin’s water parks.
The tour has been successful in reaching and inspiring new audiences of all ages and is the reward for the on-going commitment of the Ltyentye Apurte School towards the Drummers’ growth as performing artists as well as the kids’ commitment to pursuing the unfolding Journey into Rhythm with instructors Shon & Svet a.k.a, Ba-Boom!
Behind the scenes, one teacher (Michelle Dermody) one teacher-in-training (Richard Murphy) and Svet & Shon (Ba-Boom!) worked without a break from 6am to 11pm each day for 12 days straight: driving, preparing 3 meals a day plus snacks in between (the kids were incessantly hungry!), shopping for food, washing clothes and costumes, cleaning, setting & packing up camp, loading, unloading (luggage, swags, food boxes, eskis, cooking utensils and drums) creating activities, managing challenging behaviour, encouraging the kids to help, preparing the kids to perform and then watch them performing at their best and mentoring the two accompanying family members who assisted where they could.
On the long journey up and back, they slept in swags under the stars, setting up camp at a new stop each night. After all the mouths were fed, a white sheet was hung from the troopy, and a projector and P.A were set up to screen movies under the stars. This helped the kids to settle and drift in to peaceful slumber, resting their excitable little bones.
In both Katherine and Darwin, the touring party got to enjoy the facilities and accommodation provided by other Catholic schools, while inspiring their fellow student hosts with memorable performances.
Naturally, there were a few unanticipated situations that created an added layer of stress for everybody. The first of these challenges was dealing with the extreme sugar and caffeine withdrawals the kids were experiencing during the first 4 days.
Michelle, Svet and Shon made a brave decision to not buy or allow the kids to buy coke or fizzy sugar drinks, chips or lollies on the tour.
This decision was made based on a strategy to manage the kids’ extreme behaviour and based upon the desire to inspire these young people to enjoy the benefits of a healthy diet for two weeks. The Drummers’ resistance was extreme to say the least, with one young person literally screaming and demanding a fizzy drink on the very first night! …yet the teachers held fast.
After 4 days of healthy sandwiches and nutritional evening meals, muesli bars, the occasional jelly snake, high fruit content low sugar cordial with soda water and plenty of fruit, the kids settled down into the flow of their detoxing bodies and their behaviour improved remarkably.
A couple of near mis-haps found their way into the mix as well just to keep everyone on their toes!
One of these occurred during their approach into Darwin. Whilst traveling along a busy highway overpass, the brackets of the bus roof rack, holding 21 swags, collapsed and the rack landed onto the roof and slid off to one side of the bus. Fortunately, the driver remained calm and successfully guided the bus courting this hazard to the side and off the highway to solve the problem. Adding to the stress, the Drummers had a lunchtime gig to get to (their first in Darwin) and it was extremely hot and sweaty. Leaving the broken rack for a later scoop, they stuffed all of the swags into the bus with everybody else, and pushed onwards to the gig at Bagot community. Fortunately, the team generally dealt with surprising situations with a sense of calm, fortitude and humour.
Another great bonus for the whole tour project was finding an independent film-maker to come along for the ride. Leonie Van Eyck and her little girl, Jamilla, followed closely, with tape rolling, capturing emotions, events, performances, responses, and the progressive story as it was unfolding.
This has been a groundbreaking experience for all involved. Months of preparation went into the tour and the many carefully considered details have helped to make it the resounding success that it was. The whole Santa Teresa community is proud, the far-reaching fans are proud and the young performers themselves are proud of what has been achieved. The whole touring party have learnt so much along the way and the lessons learned will help to make the next tour easier especially for the teachers and accompanying parents!
Several organizations, through funding and logistical input, helped to make this tour possible: the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, CEA Alice Springs, CAYLUS, Atyenhenje-Atherre Aboriginal Corporation, the Chief Minister for Labour NT, St. Vincent de Paul, Rotary Club of Melbourne and CAAMA Media. Thank you once again!
Shon & Svet (Ba-Boom!) are very grateful for the great tide of support for this tour. Special thanks to Michelle Dermody, Greg Crowe and the staff of LACEC, Richard Murphy, Leonie Van Eyck and Sam Absolom. Extra special thanks to the whole community of Santa Teresa for entrusting Ba-Boom! with the care of their young drummers and making their dream, to tour and reach new audiences, come true!
So, it seems, it is possible ~ & dreams really do come true!
Hard work, committed training, good choices and some moving performances have all contributed to this tour coming to life. These young musicians are bursting with excitement as all of the many details in the planning for the journey come together.
Not only are we working hard at making our music exciting and precise by rehearsing every day, there is a big team from the school staff behind the scenes co-ordinating the logistics for 17 kids and 7 adults to travel overland over 3000km together for 13 days.
The Ltyentye Apurte Drummers will perform 9 shows in 4 towns: Tennant Creek, Mataranka, Katherine and Darwin. Along the way we will sleep in swags, camp in school halls and under the stars. We will carry with us a camp kitchen to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner on most days. Posters, signage for the tour bus, touring outfits (shirts with identifying logos), venues, media, risk management and much much more are all a part of our combined preparation for this mega-journey into rhythm!
By demonstrating their musical skills with such enthusiasm and joy, The Ltyentye Apurte Drummers have impressed the following organisations so much that they were moved to donate substantial sums of money in support of the proposed tour. We’d like to acknowledge and deeply thank the significant contributions and support from the following organisations : CAYLUS (for the new performing shirts and wonderful monetary donation), the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, the Atyenhenje-Atherre Aboriginal Corporation, the Chief Minister for Labour NT, St. Vincent de Paul, the Rotary Club of Melbourne, among many other offers of financial support from affiliated groups and individuals associated with the community of Santa Teresa.
A great big thank you for your support and belief in the growing success of The Ltyentye Apurte Drummers!
Have a look at many beautiful images from the tour on our FACEBOOK page here:
ALSO, BE SURE TO CHECK OUT THEIR VIDEO PERFORMANCES ON YOUTUBE HERE:
We very much enjoyed having the opportunity to prepare for our upcoming tour to Darwin by running a holiday program for the first time in Santa Teresa.
The school generously offered us a classroom to run our Ba-Boom! Holiday Music School. We set up the drums , other new and exciting instruments and a creative corner (offering colouring in, word searches and grid drawings) for the younger kids to remain engaged while we practiced the tried and true rhythms and learnt two new pieces with the older students.
This was a great way to consolidate what the kids have learnt so far and an opportunity for those kids who haven’t had much of a chance to play recently to get back into the groove and have a go at learning new patterns and beats. During this process we identified several younger students who displayed very promising aptitude for all of the skills necessary to play and perform in a rhythm ensemble in the future.
To maintain the students engagement with the school by offering three focused sessions every day proved to be very successful. We have noticed that the students’ ability to remain focused has improved enormously, with many kids staying for the full 2.5 hr sessions and some returning for every session during a day.
In addition to the classroom activities we also offered our usual holiday program activities: structured games, skills development, obstacle courses, bingo (fundraising for the tour!) lunch and oranges every day and some fun and interesting films from other indigenous communities.
The first public gig for The Ltyentye Apurte Drummers in 2012 was for the NTCOSS annual conference. This also happened to be their first paid/corporate gig and the audience, who were representative of all state-wide service providers, were blown away with a very slick performance. It was wonderful for all of us to be acknowledged for the hard work that goes into such celebrated success!
Second gig for The Drummers was at the Wide Open Spaces Festival performing the honorary ‘welcome to country’ . The festival site is located at Ross River in an intimate valley in East Arrente country which is family for some of the kids are custodian for. The Arrente men from Santa Teresa also gave a ceremonial dance. Revellers from far and wide assembled to cheer and dance to The Drummers’ smooth and confident performance. Many folks commented on their finesse and remarked on the sophistication of their rhythm pieces.
David Batty, Rebel film-maker, joined us for the preparations and unfolding of the days’ events. From filming us rehearsing at school in the morning to capturing the kids’ building excitement, creating a buzz around the festival’s launch, to focusing in on the joy on their faces while they performed, David and his camera were in the epicentre of a beautiful phenomenon!
Two weeks later, The Ltyentye Apurte Drummers were rehearsing their chops for a different kind of gig altogether; The Centralian School Eistedfodd. This event requires the kids to perform their work independently, which differs from the festival gigs where we enhance the band with djembe soloing and extra percussion. The band were totally up for the challenge.
One of the key dun-dun players, Angelina, took up the helm of calling the changes in the arrangement on the whistle. Not only did she nail this role, but the judges admired her leadership skill. The adjudicator was overwhelmed with emotion when she took to the microphone to express her praise for such a ‘magical’ performance. The Drummers scored a 90% total and took out the trophy for the under 14 percussion section for 2012.
Riding on the high of the days’ success, we arranged for The Ltyentye Apurte Drummers to play their full set at The Steiner School Fair the next day. Once again, from their first beat to their last, folks were captivated, stopped in their tracks, heads turned to face the music, feeling the joy and power of the kids’ deadly drumming.
Last gig of the month turned out to be for a huge Labour campaign launch party in Santa Teresa. The state minister, Paul Henderson attended this event, as well as most of the community. The kids were more nervous about playing for their families than for any other gig! But they gave an electrifying performance nonetheless.
Mr. Henderson was suitably impressed and community members remarked on hearing new beats in the arrangements. For some of the elders, it was the first time they had seen and felt the power of The Drummers. Ceremonial dances were also performed by the women and the men, heralding the importance of such a gathering. It was great having an event like this purely for bringing the community together. After all of the formalities, the speeches and sharing of food, local Santa Teresa rock bands took the night out.
The school are keen for The Drummers to go on a regional tour, playing at schools and communities along the way and culminating with a performance at The Darwin Entertainment Centre for The Catholic Schools Festival.
This is being scheduled for late August, early September with their return to Central Australia co-inciding with the opening of the 2012 Alice Desert Festival, where The Ltyentye Apurte Drummers will feature once again.
The tour is an ambitious goal for all of us and we are currently seeking to develop philanthropic relationships to make this experience possible for the kids.
If you may be able to help, please don’t hesitate to write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org