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Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir

Currently in the midst of their first national tour, the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir is a unique and captivating ensemble. At this year’s Darwin Festival the choir performs an epic 75-minute narrative piece titled Arrkanala Lyilhitjika, relaying the 120 year old story of hymns in remote Central Australian communities.

By Chelsea Heaney.

Arrkanala Lyilhitjika provides an insight into this largely unknown aspect of Aboriginal culture in Central Australia and explores the rich history of cultural and artistic expression. The choir has recently toured Germany and appeared at the Darwin Festival in 2014 with the Soweto Gospel Choir. 

This signature performance piece reveals a rare Australian musical combination – an amalgamation of Baroque and Romantic era arrangements and centuries-old sacred poetry, conveyed in the Western Arrarnta and Pitjantjatjara languages. This unique cross-cultural performance is the result of over 100 years of choral practice in the Central Australian Desert and offers an almost otherworldly and culturally significant experience. 

Their return to the Festival stage brings with it new technological innovations. This distinctive concert, accompanied by an innovative multi-arts projection with lyrical narration, exemplifies the cultural resilience of these Central Australian women and showcases the very best of contemporary Indigenous musicianship. The performance stands as a testimony to the women in the Central Desert and their ongoing preservation of culture and language through song. 

Click here for the event listing

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