The Tiwi Strong Women’s Group have been singing together since they were young girls, learning traditional songs from their mothers and grandmothers. Now in their 50s, 60s and 70s, they still sing every day, and they are teaching the stories and traditional knowledge held in the songs to their grandchildren. They work in the community as mentors, drawing on their knowledge of Tiwi song traditions to help young Tiwi people connect with their language and cultural identity.
They have performed at the Darwin Festival a number of times, the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, the NT Deadly Awards, the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, the Sydney Recital Hall, the Sydney Opera House, and to a crowd of 400,000 people at the Papal Mass at World Youth Day celebrations. They are actively involved in the preservation and maintenance of Tiwi song practice and language and travelled (with Genevieve Campbell) to Canberra in 2009 to reclaim archived Tiwi song recordings from the Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Studies in Canberra. Their first CD Ngarukuruwala-we sing songs won Best Traditional Music Recording at the 2008 NT Deadly Awards. Their most recent CD Ngiya Awungarra-I am here, now – NT State Winner at the 2018 APRA Awards, brings archive recordings of (deceased) Tiwi ancestors to sing with them in new versions of their old songs.
To help bring in the second day of the NHC, traditional corroboree-style singers from the northern Tiwi Island community will grace the plenary stage to share songs of land and country. This performance from the Tiwi Strong Women’s Choir will follow an international keynote on Canadian First Nation’s housing perspectives, continuing our focus on the role of housing in diverse Indigenous communities.
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