Sydney sings! Old songs, new songs, Australian songs

20 February 2019

Singers and musicians from Sydney's Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander communities and the University of Sydney community come together to sing songs of reconciliation hosted by the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

The Barayagal Choir project is a cross-cultural choir bringing together First People of Sydney and non-Indigenous members from the University of Sydney community to have a unique conversation and share stories through song. The Choir will be hosted by the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

In this, the UN Year of Indigenous Language, the word Barayagal - meaning ‘Sydney sings’, with 'baraya' meaning to sing, and 'gal' connecting the singing to the lands of the Sydney region - was created for this project by Dr Jakelin Troy and Nardi Simpson. Cultural permission to name the choir Barayagal was then provided by The Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council. 

Nardi Simpson, a Yuwaalaraay writer, musician and performer from NSW’s north west freshwater plain, leads Barayagal as Musical Director, composing and developing a repertoire of five songs. One of the songs titled ‘You Gotta Know' embodies the inspiration for the Choir - a message of shared identity, all our stories reconciled together.

As a member of Indigenous duo Stiff Gins, Nardi has travelled nationally and internationally for the past 20 years, performing in the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, Vietnam and the Pacific Islands.

Kevin Hunt, lecturer at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, jazz pianist and coordinator of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal musical collaborations, completed the musical arrangements with Nardi.

Barayagal sings to the place we are in and to the places we all come from. The choir aims to bring indigenous and non-indigenous people together to break down existing walls and create a harmonious gathering place.
Kevin Hunt, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

Warren Roberts, Founder of YARN Australia, will administer the choir business to the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander community in consultation with the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council.

The Barayagal choir will be hosted by the Conservatorium of Music weekly on Thursday evenings at 6pm beginning 2 May  2019.

All welcome to witness the singing mob!

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