9bach in Australia

9bach in Australia

Welsh band 9bach collaborate with indidgenous Australian Performance Group, The Black Arm Band.

Indigenous Australian performance group The Black Arm Band Company and members of Welsh band 9Bach have come together for a unique project supported by the British Council, that explores place, identity, culture and the preservation of language.

9Bach’s Lisa Jện Brown and Martin Hoyland travelled to Australia in October to spend a month with members of The Black Arm Band Company, first in Melbourne, then in the Northern Territory region of Papunya.

The two musical ensembles, from opposite sides of the world, have a similar approach – both perform and record in their respective country’s historical languages. For 9Bach, it is the Welsh Language; and for The Black Arm Band Company, it is the many tongues of the Australian Aboriginal people.

Upon departing for Australia, Lisa Jen said:

"We can't begin to describe how this almost feels unreal. We can't wait to do all the things we love in life - all at once, with people we respect,...sing, make music, learn and share cultures, language, and travel to different parts of Australia, see what they represent, an how special it is."

During this time, the musicians will re-develop The Black Arm Band’s 2009 production, dirtsong, to produce a new work, tentatively titled Mother Tongue which will be staged as part of the River of Music event at the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad in the UK.

Lou Bennett of The Black Arm Band says the collaboration marks an important move forward in the post-Colonial process. She says:

"As an Indigenous person of Australia, I see language retrieval as a basic human right. It is a way that we can look at the past, at the global effects of Colonialism on us as human beings, and I see it as a healing process. Through this collaboration between The Black Arm Band and 9Bach we can make a really important connection between human beings from the Northern and Southern Hemispheres."

While in Australia this year, Jện and Hoyland will join The Black Arm Band a public performance in Castlemaine, near Melbourne.

"The British Council is very excited to be supporting this project as it goes to the heart of what we want to achieve with our cultural relations work – deepened mutual understanding and respect through artistic collaboration. The Black Arm Band and 9Bach represent artistic excellence from Australia and the UK and the outcomes are certain to be incredible," says British Council Australia Director Nick Marchand.,

"This project is supported by the British Council through its international New Work New Audiences initiative. With a strong focus on new ways to communicative ideas and tell stories, New Work New Audiences, uses the power of the arts to change and enhance perceptions."

The collaborative project developed during 9Bach’s visit to Australia is part of an ongoing programme of work being developed by the British Council, that will result in a performance during River of Music, a spectacular weekend of free music on 21 and 22 July 2012.

Wales Arts International was pleased to choose 9bach to feature as one of the artists in our World Music from Wales directory which can be viewed here. The Directory serves as a guide for international producers, promoters and industry professionals to develop their knowledge about the world music genre in Wales. 9bach also played during Cerdd Cymru : Music Wales' successful reception at WOMEX 2010, please click here for further information.


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