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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

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