On Friday May 27 2016, the Murru Concert will coming home in its full form, with new works, at the Ngurin Pilbara Aboriginal Centre for the community of Roebourne.

The upcoming 2016 concert will feature Shellie Morris, Lucky Oceans, John Bennett, Harry Hookey and David Hyams.  alongside Roebourne Musicians Angus Smith Roy Evans, Patrick Churnside, Tyson Mowarin, Murru choir singers and others.

HISTORY OF MURRU
For the past five years, Big hART has been working with prisoners in Roebourne Regional Prison on writing and recording music that celebrates their life, community and culture. In 2013, Big hART enlisted some talented musicians, singers and songwriters to visit Roebourne and collaborate with the community and prisoners on a compilation album to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the passing of 16-year old John Pat in a Roebourne police cell on September 28, 1983. This album is titled Murru – the nickname used by John’s family when he was a boy. The making of Murru proved to be a profound experience for all involved and has inspired the music prison program to continue and grow.

“There is so much history, so much to be done, so much that has been done, that each song and each lyric has a whole lot of history behind it; many loved ones, many families, so many songlines are behind the words on this album, I am truly proud to have been part of it.” Shellie Morris

“These songs are as true as they come. They have not been written so much as they have been lived. It was an honour and a privilege to be a part of their creation.” Harry Hookey

Murru has since grown into a much bigger project that includes touring of the Murru Concert, an outreach workshop program into schools, other communities and prisons throughout Australia, and the producing of a second album of new songs.

The theme of Murru is maragutharra, a Yindjibarndi (John’s language group) word that means ‘working together’, and the project’s basis is to work across cultures, across generations, across genders and across country to facilitate mutual teaching and learning, and of thinking in a new way about the kind of future we want for Australia.

The public outcome of the project is the Murru Concert, where this collection of songs co-written with prisoners, community members and professional musicians is performed by the likes of Archie Roach, Wendy Matthews, Bill Chambers, Harry Hookey, Lucky Oceans, Emma Donovan, John Bennett, Jae Laffer (the Panics), alongside musicians from Roebourne such as Angus Smith, Kendall Smith, Roy Evans, Patrick Churnside, Josie Alec and Tyson Mowarin. It is performed against a stunning backdrop of panoramic and animated images capturing the dynamic energy and strength of Roebourne.

The Murru Concert opened the Melbourne International Festival of Arts in Federation Square on October 10th, 2014 to an audience of 6,000 people, and our hope is to continue to present at key festivals and venues throughout Australia, as well as remote communities and detention centres, to celebrate the music, the concept of maragutharra and to draw attention to the One in Two: Unlock the Future Campaign that raises awareness of the fact that in Australia today, every second young person in juvenile detention is Indigenous (51%).

One in Two: Unlock the Future provides information about the issue, links to other campaigns that are working to find ways of reducing Indigenous incarceration and presents a simple way for Australians to join a coalition of people who wish to bring about positive change for Indigenous young people and their communities through contacting their local MP and asking them to make this issue a priority by the 2016 federal election.

The music of the Murru concert were songs written by and inspired by current inmates and relatives in the Roebourne community.  The music is great.  Songs like ‘Been There, Done That’ and ‘If I Ever Get Out Again’ are catchy, yet so profound. The concert concluded with a special guest appearance by the magnificent Archie Roach. This Festival opening was profound and heartfelt.  It really achieved the Festival objectives of community engagement and had a depth of soul which was refreshing.  A truly impressive start to a Festival which looks downright intriguing!” SAMSARA DUNSTON 

Murru Concert, Fed Square, Melbourne Festival

Roy from Roebourne, with Lucky Oceans and Tyson Mowarin, following his performance of ‘In your loving arms’ at the opening of the Melbourne Festival in Federation Square, Oct 2014.

 

The prison workshops have been generously supported by Perpetual.

 

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For the past four years, Big hART has been working with prisoners in Roebourne Regional Prison on writing and recording music that celebrates their life, community and culture.

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