From Lajamanu to Lyons, Cricket to Football, West Lane carpark to the Darwin Botanical Gardens and activating the CBD with dance, we have had a wildly busy and wonderful 2018.
A huge thank you from the Tracks team to everyone who has been part of our year.
With special acknowledgement to our volunteers who gave a staggering 4,940 hours of their time and energy to make this year shine.
Tracks will be closed from December 22 2018 and will reopen on Tuesday 15 January 2019. From all of us at Tracks we wish you a joyful holiday season and we look forward to dancing with you in 2019.
Find out what's coming up in 2019.
After years of performing for the Coomalie Community, we've started our first outreach Grey Panthers class in Batchelor.
Led by Tracks choreographic alumni and Grey Panther performer Darryl Butler, the Coomalie GP's meet weekly learning the same repertoire as the Darwin troupe.
We look forward to joining these inspiring senior dancers at performances next year and watching the Grey Panthers go from strength to strength.
The Milpirri soundtrack is created in stages, a process that is led by musician Monkey Marc (Marc Peckham) and this year assisted by MC and lyricist Mantra (Rob Tremlett) and Tracks Animateur Kelly Beneforti. The final soundtrack features many voices from the community, from children as young as eight right up to prominent Lajamanu elders.
Delving into the themes with Jampijinpa and Jangala
The first stage involved extensive discussions with Steve Jampijinpa Patrick and his father Jerry Jangala Patrick to explore and refine the themes for the Milpirri performance. The themes for Milpirri 2018 are taken directly from the Jurntu ceremony, which is a Warlpiri ceremony that revolves around lessons of Law. Each ‘colour group’ deals with a different aspect of Law, appropriate to the kinship system from which the colour system has been derived.
Monkey captured this conversation for archival and documentation purposes, even though most of it doesn’t end up directly in the Milpirri soundtrack. Mantra used the information to create colour group summaries and voice-over scripts, which bring the often complex and layered ideas into a more succinct form that are appropriate for kids, and that non-Warlpiri people can grasp.
Writing and recording with the kidsMonkey and Kelly then spent a week at Lajamanu school running music workshops to create the songs that the students will dance to in the Milpirri performance. For the kids, this is an opportunity to explore the Warlpiri themes and values that are found within Milpirri and involves them directly in the writing and recording of the soundtrack. It is magical to share in the delight that the kids get from hearing their own voices in the music.Each class group worked on a song for one of the four colour groups. The students worked with Monkey and Kelly to come up with lyrics that reflect the particular aspect of the Jurntu ceremony that relates to that colour group. For Yellow group this is Respect; for Blue group it is Responsibility; for Red group it is Justice; and for Green group it is Discipline. See the images below for the song lyrics that were created with the students of Lajamanu School.
Recording the voice-oversThe final stage in making the Milpirri music involved recording Steve Jampijinpa Patrick speaking the introductory and closing words for this year’s performance. Steve also recorded the dialogue that captures this year’s themes for each of the colour groups, which include explanations of the traditional female and male artefacts that represent those themes.
Marc and Kelly also found willing young men from the community, at least one from each of the colour groups, to record this dialogue so as to include many more voices in the soundtrack. In discussion with the women it was decided that for this Milpirri - based around the Jurntu ceremony of law and order – it was important to have men speaking about the themes, although women have their own significant role within the understanding, teaching, practicing and upholding of Warlpiri law. The men who were recorded are Roger Japaljarri Jurrah, Liam Jangala Patrick, Walter Jangala Wesley, Matthew Jakamarra Patterson, Shaun Japanangka Johnson, and Max Japanangka Gordon.
Finally, Steve’s father, Jerry Jangala Patrick, came into the recording ‘studio’ to assist with the difficult job of translating the colour group dialogue into Warlpiri, which took lengthy discussion, debate and collaboration between father and son.
Milpirri is based on the Ngapa Jukurrpa (Rainstorm dreaming) of Steve Wanta Jampijinpa Patrick’s family: ‘the rain cloud spirit saw the smoke from a large fire in the distance and liking the smoke he travelled to it. When he arrived he joined with it to make the big rainstorm cloud’ says Steve.
The Milpirri cloud is also called an Anvil-Headed Cumulonimbus cloud. It is created when the hot desert air travelling upwards combines with the cold air dropping down. When a Milpirri cloud forms people know that a big storm is being made. That storm is full of thunder and lightening. But it also drops rain which creates new growth and food for everyone.
For Jampijinpa this dreaming is a metaphor for the potential interaction between Indigenous and non-indigenous people, when ‘two different things come together to create something different and something that is so precious’, he says.
We must be aware of the conflict of two different things coming together, and work through the differences, knowing that the new growth is coming as a result of the combination.
The 2018 Milpirri performance themes focus on artefacts. Tracks has collaborated with the Lajamanu Warnayaka Arts Centre towards making sets of boomerangs for the men and clap-sticks and dancing boards for the women.
Sixteen young women were active throughout the early part of 2018 in painting their sixteen sets of Milpirri artefact props which they will dance with in this year's Milpirri - Jurntu performance. They were supervised through the process by established Lajamanu artists and were inspired by the Milpirri banners.
To read more about the Milpirri Banner designs that have been painted on the props, search through the Milpirri Banners archives. The banners are like a coat of arms to the Warlpiri people of Lajamanu.
Mercia Napurrurla Lewis, Miranda Napurrurla Cooke, Felicia Napurrurla Lawson, Natalie Napurrurla Ross, Clarise Napaljarri Mcdonald, Sylvannia Nungarrayi Spencer, Erlinda Napaljarri Mcdonald, Valentine Napaljarri Mcdonald, Deandra Napanangka Burns, Gwenyth Napanangka Tasman, Lyndal Napangardi Dixon, Narlita Napanangka Robbo, Zindzi Nampijinpa Jigili, Tegan Nangala Patrick, Charlene Nangala Hargraves and Matrina Nangala Robertson
Supervising Female Elders:
Sonya Napaljarri Cooke, Elizabeth Nungarrayi Ross, Elma Nungarrayi McDonald, Myra Nungarrayi Herbert, Biddy Nungarrayi Long, Biddy Napanangka Timms, Judy Napangardi Martin and Nancy Nangala Watson
Thanks to Anna Spencer, Ralphie Japangardi Dixon, Gerald Jampijinpa Watson and Louisa Erglis from Warnayaka Arts Centre and the artefact prop carvers from the Barkly region, particularly Joseph Williams.