IBA Media Release: Voices soar in NT community

IBA Media Release: Voices soar in NT community

Posted 28 May 2021
Barkly Voices Project, 'Keep My Culture Strong'

Barkly musician Brian Morton

A singing collaboration in the Northern Territory has shown how music can unify communities.

The Barkly Voices Project, sponsored by Indigenous Business Australia (IBA)’s subsidiary IBA Retail Asset Management (IRAM), saw 160 schoolchildren, Traditional Owners and community members from the Barkly Region contribute their voices.

The resulting four and a half-minute video clip of ‘Keep My Culture Strong’ was released today.

The Barkly Voices Project arranged and remixed a song composed and recorded by Barkly musician Brian Morton and Australian musician and songwriter Neil Murray.

“We wanted to show the Barkly Region in a positive light,” says Julianne Croft, a musician and artistic director who coordinated the project via her role at Barkly Regional Arts.

The idea for the online singing collaboration came from IRAM CEO John Kop during COVID-19 lockdowns after seeing the diverse virtual choirs popping up around the world. He arranged sponsorship from IRAM, a subsidiary of IBA, which manages the Tennant Creek supermarket.

Barkly Voices participants were invited to use their smart phones to simultaneously listen to Brian Morton’s backing track and record audio-visual files, which were posted on an interactive website for editing. This was balanced by participants recorded either on site or at the Winanjjikari Music Centre studio at Barkly Regional Arts.

Four schools took part in the collaboration including Tennant Creek Primary School, the Munkarta Homelands, Murray Downs (Imangarra) Primary School and Elliott Public School (with singer Ray Dimakarri Dixon). Other organisations contributing their voices included Catholic Care, Nyinkka Nyunyu Art and Culture Centre and Papulu Apparr-Kari Language Centre.

“The kids were great,” says Julianne Croft. “It was a really positive experience for them.”

Sean Armistead, Executive Director of Government & Public Relations at IBA, notes that contributing to local Indigenous communities for positive economic outcomes is core to IBA’s purpose.

“Projects like the Barkly Voices shine a positive light on Australia’s Indigenous culture – and something we should all be proud to promote.

“The theme of Reconciliation Week 2021 is ‘More than a word, reconciliation takes action’ and this video shows what action can look like.”

Barkly Regional Arts also receives sponsorship from the Northern Territory and Australian Governments.

Media contact: Tara Toohill 0427 011 938 or tara.toohill@iba.gov.au

Lyrics for Keep My Culture Strong (Brian Morton and Neil Murray)

Sitting by the firelight,

The moon is shining bright.

Listening to all the people

Telling the Dream Time story.

 

I’m thinking very deeply,

About that dreaming.

How it is the backbone to this land.

 

Keep my culture strong.

Keep my culture strong.

 

Culture is the main thing.

It’s our identity and meaning.

It’s the way to survive.

 

We can’t forget our ancestors.

We gotta keep it all alive,

And pass it on to our children.

 

Keep my culture strong.

Keep my culture strong.

Keep my culture strong.

And carry on.

 

[Bridge] (spoken in different First Nations’ languages and Chinese, Indonesian and French languages of Barkly singers: “Keep our culture strong, keep our children strong, keep our country strong”)

 

Well, I’m standing in my country.

I feel the power in the ground.

It’s what the old people said.

 

When my time is done and I no longer walk this earth,

My spirit will return to the place I love.

 

Keep my culture strong.

Keep my culture strong.

Keep my culture strong.

And carry on.

 

Keep my culture strong.

Keep my culture strong.

Keep my culture strong.

And carry on.