BA-BOOM! Adventures in Sound!

Mobile Music Program for Youth in Remote Areas

Highlights of 2017


LAD ASK-F 2017

A peek at the latest, resurrected Ltyentye Apurte Drummers performing at the Alice Desert Festival last September 2017.

posted under Uncategorized | Comments Off on Highlights of 2017

Post Traumatic Growth Through Rhythm



The impact of intergenerational trauma in remote Australian Indigenous communities is alarming. Over the past 13 years, I have witnessed the legacy of intergenerational trauma in remote Aboriginal communities. I have also seen the direct, positive effects of rhythm and creative projects on the mental health and wellbeing of Indigenous families. When such programs are defunded and abandoned, the repercussions ripple out, drastically impeding the movement toward healthier community living.

The transformational impact of programs addressing intergenerational trauma is dependent on sustained, committed funding. Current funding of these important social programs is subject to frequent political change, resulting in profound instability in Indigenous communities.

The effects of trauma on the neurobiology of Indigenous youth is well understood. The Australian government and national peak bodies such as the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) recognise methods of recovery from a neuroscientific perspective in well documented academic papers such as Trauma-informed services and trauma-specific care for Indigenous Australian children, which references Dr Bruce Perry’s research into childhood trauma and offers a worthy theoretical framework for optimising child neurodevelopment. SNAICC offer substantial findings in their publication Healing in Practice

Despite this research, the Australian government is offering little or no funding to support active therapeutic programs which promote post-traumatic growth in Indigenous communities. The decision to underfund youth services surely defies reality in a nation which has the highest youth suicide in the world and where detention rates of Aboriginal youth, at 26 times the rates of other children, are the main focus of the recent visit of the Amnesty International’s Secretary General. It also defies the oft stated mantra of the Abbott Government regarding Indigenous affairs: “Getting children to school, adults to work and building safer communities.”

Trauma needs to be addressed on a physical level over a sustained period of time to assist the brain in new growth and opportunities to heal. Trauma has caused and continues to cause, social and emotional issues that are alarmingly detrimental to remote Indigenous communities.The legacy of dysfunction, disease, pain and sorrow, for a culture that lived wisely, powerfully,  and autonomously for 60,000 years or more before invasion, theft of land, massacres, dispossession, assimilation, intervention, stolen children and state-imposed poverty, is so deeply shameful through my eyes.

What legacy do we want to leave? The majority of non-Indigenous Australians live in relative wealth (or at least comfort) at the ongoing expense of the health and wealth of the First Nation peoples. Can we make a gesture as individuals and take some responsibility for the poor and profoundly destructive decisions made by past and present governments? Can this generation make a powerful statement about the world we would like to see, about the future we would like to create?

If we could take initiative and make change what would it look like? We are Ba-Boom! For the past 10 years we have been traveling to remote communities, when funding permits, to deliver rhythm and music education through school programs and holiday programs. We integrate art, sport, and nutrition programs, all aimed at alleviating the effects of trauma on these communities, with special focus on youth.

We propose to invite a million Australians and or international citizens to help us to initiate autonomy from government funding to address this very serious issue over a sustained period of time. The offering of $10 for 10 years (a glass of wine at a bar!) by a million people would help fund many targeted, trauma-informed programs. Through accessing long term and current relationships with remote Indigenous communities and thorough cultural consultancy with elders and youth alike, we propose to employ and train facilitators (both Indigenous and non-Indigenous), to engage young Indigenous people in a variety of well structured and targeted activities supporting them to live vibrantly and confidently on their ancestral lands, connected to their families and historical culture.

Ongoing partnerships play an essential role. Negotiated partnerships with local Indigenous organisations and councils, NGO’S, schools and other concerned parties are vital to the ongoing success and expansion of the program.

Funding support by a collective of concerned and informed individuals would mobilise professional co-ordinators and facilitators of music, rhythm, art, sport, nutrition, dance, narrative therapy, sexual and mental health and life skills programs. It will purchase transport (4WD buses), trailers, instruments, equipment (recording, multi-media, camping, art), food, cooking equipment, clothing, tools, satellite phones, first aid equipment, fuel. It would assist and support elders to create safe spaces by taking youth and their families out of communities and back onto ancestral lands (“out to Country”), for the focused teaching of Law and Culture and the wise teachings and story telling from Elders. It would also assist with tours both state and interstate, as an opportunity for these talented youth to be seen, affirmed and acknowledged for their skills.

Above all, collective funding would assist in building the capacity, empowerment, mental and physical health and wellbeing, self determination, self esteem, a sense of belonging, and feelings of worth and validation for Indigenous youth in Australia.

Next year we will launch a fundraising campaign. We have begun inviting a well informed and passionate team of individuals to assist us in designing and delivering such an ambitious campaign and program.

Stay tuned. We will continue to publish on our site, and we invite you to support us by sharing what you have learned. Feel free to contact us directly or join our mailing list and we’ll let you know when we launch our campaign.

Donations are gratefully received. If you feel inclined, please help us to get underway by donating what you can.

Mail orders and cheques for Ba-Boom! are gratefully received at PO Box 33, Leigh Creek, South Australia, 5731

Thank you ~

Shon and Svet


posted under BA-BOOM! News | Comments Off on Post Traumatic Growth Through Rhythm

Docker River 2015



Ba-Boom! were thrilled to be sent by the NPY Womens Council to Docker River (Kaltukutjara) for the third time in the past twelve months to deliver another exciting school holiday program.

Upon arriving in Kaltukutjara, we were warmly greeted with big smiles, nods of acknowledgement and happy dances, which made our hearts swell.

Our visit (for a whole month) enabled us to stretch out into longer-term projects as well as establish routine activities and weekly community events. These activities included rhythm classes in Nyangatjatjara College (as senior students were still in term), supporting the newly formed youth council with a T-shirt screen-printing project, large banner painting projects, kungka cooking and kungka music (for the young women), wati music and recording (for the young men), sports training and regular drumming sessions for all youth out in the wider community.

kungka music2


As it was July, our visit coincided with NAIDOC week so we garnered the support of Kaltukatjara elders to explore this years’ theme of Sacred Ground; inviting their input into the creation of a sacred ground message banner and encouraging them to come share stories and tjukurrpa at the NAIDOC barbecue which we hosted and co-ordinated with other local service providers. The intent, the artwork and the celebration were appreciated by the whole community.

In Docker River we are honoured to be working alongside Anangu youth worker, Miriam Kennedy. Miriam, delightfully amiable in community and beyond, assists us to engage as many young people as possible in our activities. We support her to co-facilitate these activities with us. We make an awesome team!

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREOur weekly cook-up and bingo fund-raising activity is always popular with youth and their families all gathering to play for a great range of prizes while enjoying delicious, hot dinners, prepared earlier by the kungkas in our cooking and beauty club. The kungkas later rock up to bingo with new hair make-overs. We raised a thousand dollars over the month to put straight back into the youth program.


The NPY Womens’ Council will be sending Ba-Boom! back to Docker River and Wingellina for the spring holidays to continue building capacity, connection and joy.

Stay tuned, as exciting things are ahead for Ba-Boom! including a new rhythm program for the Elcho Island School and a public fund-raising campaign called Million X Ten.


posted under Holiday Programs | Comments Off on Docker River 2015

Ba-Boom! in 2014


It  has been an eventful year of exciting engagements and new projects for Ba-Boom! With great support from the NPY Women’s Council, Ba-Boom have continued to deepen their relationships with the communities of Mimili, Ernabella, Amata, Docker River, Mutitjulu and Fregon by providing dynamic school holiday programs across the APY Lands throughout the year.

Using these relationships as a springboard, the Child and Mental Health Services of South Australia (CAMHS) were inspired to engage Ba-Boom to make repeated visits to Mimili Anangu School to specifically apply their Rhythm in Schools Program in addressing youth trauma. It’s been an incredible journey so far.

Ba-Boom’s first visit coincided with the timing of the annual APY Lands dance competition known as Ernabella Dance. The event organisers were open to having a youth drum ensemble perform for the opening and thus, the Mimili Maku Drummers were born.

Out of a two week period of rhythm immersion for all of the students at the school, at least ten kids volunteered to take on performing. As the school was also preparing a group dance item, the students were accustomed to the process of rehearsing. To complete the ritual of performance, special shirts were printed up to wear onstage and the fledgling music group were in good stead for their public debut. Needless to say, the Mimili Maku Drummers were warmly received for their opening item on the program and appreciated by all of the gathered youth and their families attending Ernabella Dance 2014.

While Ba-Boom’s first visit was novel, exciting and performance oriented, Ba-Boom!’s second visit to Mimili Anangu School was an opportunity to go deeper into the healing aspects of rhythm. Ongoing studies in childhood trauma and neurobiology reveal that “Areas of the brain most vulnerable to trauma are those responsible for thinking and processing information. Therefore children that have been exposed to trauma often have speech and language difficulties, as well as becoming hypervigilant, lacking impulse regulation and ability to concentrate. This causes a cascade of problems that include relationship and school issues; decreased employment opportunities later in life; increased heart disease, diabetes and immune disorders; and mental health problems. Experiencing neglect in the early years creates a set of burdens and developmental insults difficult to overcome without specialist services.”

With this basic understanding of childhood trauma, neurobiological processes, and the circumstances affecting youth in remote communities, Ba-Boom are acutely interested in and are successfully utilising rhythm as a healing modality. This current engagement via CAMHS with the Mimili youth, is enabling Ba-Boom to discover and impart even more creative ways to involve traumatised and disadvantaged youth on a Journey into Rhythm.


posted under Ba-Boom! in Schools, BA-BOOM! News | Comments Off on Ba-Boom! in 2014

More videos of the LA Drummers at Fed. Square


Two more clips of the Ltyentye Apurte Drummers’ pinnacle, ground-shaking performance at Federation Square in Melbourne last May for Long Walk 2013.


posted under BA-BOOM! News, Performances | Comments Off on More videos of the LA Drummers at Fed. Square

Evaluating Sensorimotor Intervention in Children who have Experienced Complex Trauma – an excerpt.



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

posted under BA-BOOM! News, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Evaluating Sensorimotor Intervention in Children who have Experienced Complex Trauma – an excerpt.

LA Drummers at Fed Square video


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!

posted under BA-BOOM! News, Performances | Comments Off on LA Drummers at Fed Square video

“Ltyentye Apurte Drummers Do Central Australia Proud” – CAAMA


LAD- pre-show

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.

Fed Square crowd

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.

end clap

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. 

Long Walk... from Santa Teresa 001Last 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!

clare#1Here are some links to media coverage of the Federation Square celebrations that feature the Ltyentye Apurte Drummers:

And for more tour photos please go to our Facebook page!



posted under Ba-Boom! in Schools, BA-BOOM! News, Performances | Comments Off on “Ltyentye Apurte Drummers Do Central Australia Proud” – CAAMA

Ready to Fly

Jermaine, Camille, Danika, Vicky and Nadine

Jermaine, Camille, Danika, Vicky and Nadine

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! 

posted under Uncategorized | Comments Off on Ready to Fly

The Ltyentye Apurte Drummers are seeking Support!


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.

In order to kick this terrific goal, the Ltyentye Apurte Drummers are needing financial support!
We believe that this is not just a golden opportunity for these desert performers to be celebrated by wider mainstream audiences, but also an opportunity for NGOs, business, foundations, government and corporations to support a success story from the heart of indigenous Australia.
We are putting this out there for you to share with people you may know who might be very interested in financially supporting this dream to come true!
We have set a fund-raising goal of $35,000 to bring The Ltyentye Apurte Drummers’ touring party to Melbourne to be a part of the Dreamtime at the G Football Carnival. 
Just briefly, this estimate includes airfares (for 17 kids plus 5 adults), freight, ground transport, uniforms, catering, accommodation, publicity, pre-tour training, preparation and management for 3 weeks leading up to and including the touring period.
With a time frame of only three months, we are at this stage trying to secure realistic financial commitment as soon as possible.

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!





posted under BA-BOOM! News | Comments Off on The Ltyentye Apurte Drummers are seeking Support!
« Older Entries