Musicians bring Indigenous Australian composers' works to life

Indigenous composers from across Australia are making new music together thanks to a pilot mentor program. The Australian National University (ANU) School of Music is helping talented composers bring their works to life.

Musicians are performing original music from Indigenous composer Brenda Gifford who says the sound is based on the seasons from her home town of Wreck Bay.

"It's that connection within me...it's that connection like when I go down to Wreck (Bay) it's just that feeling of relaxation and home," says Gifford.

Her songs are in the Indigenous language Derga but she says her music speaks to all.

This pilot program supports indigenous composers to fine tune their works and to help them establish contacts, relationships and role models within the industry.

Dr Chris Sainsbury from the ANU School of Music explains the program mentors, trains and assists Indigenous composers from NSW and Canberra.

"We've got five in the group to emerge into other fields of music composition be it jazz or classical."

Aboriginal composer Tim Gray has used the mentoring opportunity to express his love of horror film.

"I'm writing a script for a film, a horror film, about a female werewolf who kills serial killers...I did music for two scenes in that film to be still made yet," says Gray.

Participating artists receive individual guidance from the facilitators in developing their composition, notation and orchestration skills, as well as taking part in master classes and working closely with performers.

There is support available for typesetting and score production, and the final performance event will also involve a studio recording of the new works.

Exploring further performance possibilities and publishing arrangements is also a part of the scope of the pilot project.

Gray, who was adopted, says his desire to learn about music and film has helped him deal with his personal life.

"Growing up knowing that I was Aboriginal and had other parents elsewhere and then finding them that was a very interesting time, very hard time, particularly with drug and alcohol abuse that I also went through at the time."

He says music has been a major healer in that process and these composers believe there's no limit to the power of music.

Source: AP