Newsletter Subscribe
Australian Catholics Subscribe

Sneaky Jesus song – Grandmother's song

Michele Frankeni  |  25 January 2018

A ‘Sneaky Jesus song’ may not be a religious tune, but that doesn’t stop it from being deeply spiritual. Our latest song features an all-female Aboriginal group from the Northern Territory.

When Northern Territory group Kardajala Kirridarra sings Didn’t know it was possible to feel this much pain, it is a searing cry about generations of Indigenous families broken apart by Aboriginal protection and welfare laws and policies.

While many Australians will note the 10-year anniversary since the National Apology to the Stolen Generations as history (13 February 2018), for Indigenous it is a marker of continuous and shared pain.

This loss of family and the continuity of tradition has been captured by the all-female group Kardajala Kirridarra in the hauntingly beautiful single Ngabaju (Grandmother’s song).
Sung in an Indigenous language, Mudburra, and English, and melding traditional with contemporary, Ngabaju reminds listeners of the importance of family and tradition, of just being table to pass down knowledge of country and culture.

… but looking at this country without you to show
me all the meanings all the places I should go
it breaks my sore heart that I don’t know the flow …

The band comprises of songwriter and vocalist Eleanor Dixon, Eleanor’ aunty Janey ‘Namija’ Dixon, who is also a poet and translator, rapper, MC Kayla Jackson and Melbourne vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and electronic producer Beatrice Lewis. The band’s name means ‘Sandhill Women’ and is taken from the name of a mysterious bush woman from the sandhills behind the Malinja, NT, community, which is about 400km south of Katherine. Karajala Kirridarra’s music celebrates all the roles of women, in the family, community and country.

In July last year the group released its self-titled album, which featured ‘Ngabaju’. It was mainly recorded in Marlinja and features sounds from the surrounding lands, such as seed pods, thunder storms and clap sticks made by Eleanor’s father. The ability to hear the beauty in natural sounds shows a deep spiritual connection to country and community, but further highlights how painful the removal from family and tradition is.

You taught me so much about everything I know
but looking at this country without you to show
me all the meanings all the places I should go
it breaks my sore heart that I don’t know the flow
know that I’m older I see what you mean to me
I see the kind of woman that I’m meant to be
I want you to know I gave my daughter your name
Didn’t know it was possible to feel this much pain

Click here for a live performance of Ngabaju.

Ngabaju, released 19 May, 2017
Written, produced and performed by Kardajala Kirridarra.
Co-produced, mixed and mastered by Marc Peckham.

 

Topic tags: indigenousaustralians, social justice-australia, australianidentity, women'sspirituality

Request permissions to reuse this article


Similar articles

Catholic Teacher blog: Set the world on fire

 | 21 Feb 2019

The first Year 12 students have graduated from their new high shool in Timor-Leste with outstanding results.


Catholic Teacher blog: Faith matters – humility

Brendan Nicholls | 21 Feb 2019

When we compare good and evil in the world it’s clear that good has the numbers. Thus, we can be hopeful and positive about our world.


Catholic Teacher: Faith formation resources for Term One 2019

Michael McVeigh | 12 Feb 2019

Thanks for joining us for another year of Catholic Teacher e-news. Here’s some of the exciting things we have in store for you in Term One.


Catholic Teacher blog: Go forward in hope

Brendan Nicholls | 07 Feb 2019

People are made for growth. If you remove the chance to return to what is safe, then the only way is forward.


Faith matters: Flight

Brendan Nicholls | 05 Dec 2018

Kelly LatimoreAdvent is a time to consider how the Christmas narrative might inform the actions of countries who have the ability to offer protection and welcome to those in need.


This website uses cookies to give you the best, most relevant experience.

Using this website means you are okay with this.

You can change your cookies settings at any time and find out more about them by following this link