BA-BOOM! Adventures in Sound!

Mobile Music Program for Youth in Remote Areas

Dreaming down the track…

September24

Having had an absolutely eventful year to date, (and it’s only september!) we are currently ‘dreaming up’ ways to take the Ltyentye Apurte Drummers to Australia’s largest indigenous culture festival, The Dreaming Festival in Woodford, QLD in 2011. Our drummers have shown themselves to be committed and professional and deserve to have their performances celebrated by wider audiences across the country and indeed, the world.

To get to The Dreaming Festival will take a lot of fundraising to transport the kids and their support to and from Alice Springs. If you can suggest any ways to support with this mission we would love to hear from you.

contact@ba-boom.com.au

dreaming, dreaming…

GeNeraTe – Youth Arts Showcase, Alice Desert Festival 2010

September24

The aim of our second visit to Santa Teresa was to train up a specific drumming group and develop a performance piece to be featured in the youth arts showcase, ‘Generate’, which is the opening event of the Alice Springs Desert Festival 2010.

In the space of one week, we got a band of 12 boys and girls up and ready for their debut performance on the big festival stage experience! The Ltyente Apurte Drummers performed with excellence and radiated like stars in front of an adoring crowd of two thousand people who attended the festival opening night.

Due to their success last year, the Ikuntji Drummers were invited for a return performance at the same event this year. With only a week to prepare, all of the kids drummed with us at school and after school everyday, resulting in a performing group that was double in size to last year. These kids were most enthusiastic and excitable with the experienced few exuding a sense of knowing and confidence. We watched these Ikuntji Drummers shine before the same adoring crowds.

Our rhythm program was well supported by the Ikuntji School and the MacDonnell Shire. Without their support these kids would not have been able to accept the honourable invitation of an encore performance, so we sincerely thank the principals and the Shire for getting behind us to help make this happen.

Ltyentye Apurte School, Santa Teresa, N.T.

September24

The second school visit of the year, was by the invitation of a teacher at the Ltyentye Apurte School in Santa Teresa, 80km south-east of Alice Springs. Having observed the kids’ tendencies to beat out a rhythm on anything with anything, the teacher tracked us down to bring our African rhythm program to their school. We appreciated her opinion that a rhythm program would have educational and therapeutic benefits for their school, and we were keen to provide it!

Over a two week intensive period, we worked with every grade class at least four times each. The transitions and grade ones didn’t miss out either as we entertained them with simple songs, dances and rhythm accompaniments. All one hundred and twenty of the enrolled kids had an opportunity to learn rhythm with us in that fortnight and the response was most enthusiastic.

Of course, the experience of learning ensemble drumming takes a lot of  concentration on many things at once; technique, listening, playing and listening, polyrhythms, etc. To begin each class, we would take the students through warm-up and cross-core exercises to limber up their bodies and their brains, in order to able to focus on ‘the pulse’ and recognize group cohesion.

As the fortnight progressed, we developed and practiced unique rhythm arrangements specific to each class, according to their skill development. These pieces were performed by each grade class at school assembly on our last day, giving them the experience of performing for an audience, which in this case was their wider school community. Having a performance outcome helps to develop individual and group confidence, which inevitably extends to a becoming sense of pride and empowerment for the whole community. Everyone was so happy with the results and the experience that we were invited back to the school in August.

Marree Aboriginal School, S.A.

September17

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In between doing our youth holiday programs, we keep busy with specially commissioned school projects. Earlier this year, we were invited to come to Marree Aboriginal School, on the southern edge of the Oodnadatta Track, to write a song that would focus on the strengths of their community.

Historically, Marree has seen inter-community/family challenges that sometimes seeps into the school environs. We were honoured to not only offer a direct, hands-on, musical experience for all the students in the school, but to look at the community’s cultural assets as seen through the eyes of the youth and convey this in song.

We asked the teachers to work with their classes, prior to our arrival, in order to establish a foundation for the song. The kids were asked to think about their town, what makes them feel good about it, what brings a smile to their faces and what gets them excited. By the time we arrived, we were enthusiastically greeted with three pages of key words and impressions that best described all of the above.

Over at the youth shed, we were delighted to discover that the community had been given a bunch of new, still in-the-box, instruments, p.a. system, amps, mics and hardware. We swiftly unpacked these, set them up and put them into the hands of the kids. Everyone had a chance to play and learn on an instrument.

First, we came up with the rhythmic structure in the context of West African ensemble music, where everyone played djembes, dun-duns, shakers & bells. Over this, some of the kids played along on guitar, bass and keyboard. Once we established the groove, inspiration for the melody of the song emerged, and we were on our way!

In the week of our visit we made a recording and arranged to perform the song for the community at the end of the week. The band consisted of an ample african rhythm section lead by Shon, four female vocalists, Lee (a musical teacher) on time-keeping duty playing hi-hats and Svet on bass, keys and real marimba! It was like an orchestra, as all the kids from school were involved except for the wee young ones. Our song was titled, “Culture Keeps Us Strong”. The community came together to support their children, the tune was catchy and the whole journey was a success.

In continuation of the song project since our visit, Marree Aboriginal School have been making a book about the song to accompany a CD of the tune which they aim to publish and sell at the local shop. Thanks Marree, we had a great time, go forth and sing!

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School Holidays with Ba-Boom!

September16

minyma animation

Throughout the past year, during each of the school holiday periods, Ba-Boom! have dedicated their energies to returning to and working with the youth in two Pitjantjatjarra/Yankunytjatjara communities; Fregon and Indulkana.

fregon mural

As always, we rock up with our ever-expanding, trailer-full of fun. Aside from the drums, instruments, art & craft gear, books, music, movies, projector & P.A., hair & beauty and cooking kits, we have added circus gear (stilts, hula hoops, juggling balls), power tools (for making polypipe bracelets), a softball kit and a bumper-sized camp-stove for cooking over the fire on cold winter nights. No kid could possibly get bored with us.

Returning as we have to these places, the kids know us, as do their families and wider community. They cheer when they see us arrive, hang out with us and enjoy the variety, routine and surprises we offer. The deepening sense of familiarity is rewarding and we constantly find new things to make and do together.

animating

girls making music!

In Fregon we have continued to make animations and soundtracks, we’ve painted up a fantastical aquatic mural (inspired by postcards left by a visitor from cairns country) and have actively mentored the community youth worker, which has kick-started a vibrant and operational space for youth of all ages to come and enjoy.

There is at least twice as many youth in Indulkana, and it is here that we all greatly enjoy African drumming, organized sport & games and big cook-ups. Indulkana is a very musical community. Local talent, The Iwantja Band, are building  up a national profile for their unique blend of desert reggae, blues and heavy metal styles. Band leader, Jeremy, often accompanies his father, Pastor Henry, on keyboards for weekly outdoor sermons which brings peace to the whole village at night with it’s long, warm, inclusive embrace. Indulkana kids are dynamic, energetic, interactive and lots of fun!

jamming with iwantja band

polypipe bracelets

recording drums

indulkana camp-fire cook-up

Last winter, we also got to go and work in a new place, Ali Curung, a little south of Tennant Creek. We were so warmly welcomed into this community and we had a great time doing ‘our thing’ with the new mob including organizing a big community camp-fire cook-up with malu wipu (kangaroo tail), damper, camp-fire songs, drumming and even fire-poi-twirling. We made a couple of new films, an animation and a girls’ story of country, which were enjoyed and celebrated by the kids and their families.

hula train

new experiences!

painting the scene

camp-fire sing-along