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Mobile Music Program for Youth in Remote Areas
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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.

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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

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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! 

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Rain Tree Park, Darwin.

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.

Tennant Creek.

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.

St.Josephs College, Katherine.

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.

Tick Park, Katherine.

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!

The Ltyentye Apurte Drummers with new Cheif Minister Terry Mills and Alison Anderson.

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.

Leanyer Water Park, Darwin.

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!

Bagot Community, Darwin.

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.

Waking up in Mataranka.

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.

Cooling off at Bitter Springs, Mataranka.

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.

Giving a public drumming workshop, Katherine.

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.

Refreshing Edith Falls.

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.

Journal writing.

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.

Out to Sea!

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.

Cooling off on Mandurah Beach, Darwin.

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.

Catch of the day!

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.

Mindil Beach Markets, Darwin.

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!

Interacting with family and fans via Ba-Boom on facebook.

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!

First sight of the sea!

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!

Big, warm, footy-style home-coming!


gone fishing! alpurrurulum




For six weeks over November and December, Ba-Boom! were delighted to be situated out at Lake Nash in Arlpurrurulam community, east of The Barkly and very close to the QLD border.


The local culture out at Arlpurrurulam is enriched by it’s situation close to the flowing Georgina River and in the increasingly hot pre-monsoonal days, the kids would love to go swimming and fishing. Cooking up fresh fish & chips by the riverside with the young women and elders was a real treat and novelty for us and we would also play music and games on our excursions out there.  


We were alerted to the danger for dogs down at the river early on when our little Mieka swallowed a scrap of rotten meat which happened to have a fish-hook embedded in it prompting us on an emergency dash to the vet in Mt. Isa. Fortunately it eventually passed through without any complications, which was a terrific relief for us and quite a miracle!


We had the pleasure of working with a enthusiastic team of local youth workers and very supportive community service providers. Our featured art projects included painting two large calico banners. One was a beautiful mandala which many kids helped to create over the weeks and the other we all decided would be a community unity message “I am more than just me, I am my community”. We also started an animation story and decorated the Shire offices with lots of xmas decorations.


It was the time of year when the store put on it’s annual xmas party featuring Santa and xmas present giving, an interstate country band, a big community feast of roasted meats, salads, drinks, fresh fruit, cake and ice cream to boot! We hosted a big long evening of crazy games on the basketball court opposite the shop: pinata smashing (which we made and decorated together and filled with lollies), sack races, three-legged races, tunnel ball and the ever popular busta-balloon. A great time was had by all! 


We gave drumming & rhythm classes to all the students of Arpurrurulam School regularly over the six weeks which was most enjoyed, being a new experience for all. Other regular activities included basketball competitions, bingo night, cooking, disco and movie nights. The kids at Arpurrurulam also enjoyed skate-boarding and the older boys and young men had a blast playing on the new band instruments and equipment, rehearsing their music for concert nights.







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Hello world!


Hello and welcome to the website of BA-BOOM!
Stay tuned for updates on our community projects, gigs, recordings & more!


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