Wallaga Lake Community Concert unites and lifts spirits | PHOTOS

The second Wallaga Lake Community Concert on Friday evening was an even bigger success again lifting the spirits of both the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community. The concert was a sharing of culture and a coming together of community from all levels.

The Wallaga Lake Koori community welcomed everyone to their exciting showcase of music and film. The community had been working with Grow the Music and South East Arts in a series of intensive music and recording sessions in the four weeks leading up to the concert.

The community concert is the culmination of weeks of hard work by both the performers and the Grow the Music facilitators, music teachers Lizzy Rutten and Jen Brightwell with professional filmmaker Dean Brosche.

A highlight of the festival was the appearance of Neil Murray, formerly of the Warumpi band, who was joined by village young performers, enigmatic MC Foster the Kid, local rapper Gabadoo, singer Alison Walker, as well as screening of fantastic short films made during the project. 

The women of Wallaga have come together to form a choir called the Ngaardi Sisters and made their anticipated debut performance. The evening began with traditional dancing and welcome by the Gadhu Dancers, led by Trey Parsons.

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Jazz Williams is South East Arts’ Aboriginal Creative and Cultural Engagement Officer, and can see the power in events like the one being held at the Wallaga Lake Koori Village on Friday.

“Our big heartland concert at Wallaga Lake Koori Village on Friday night was an unparalleled display of community engagement and support for the Wallaga mob,” Ms Williams said.

“Connection through music is a vital way to bridge the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities. I'm immensely proud of all the kids, musicians, painters and dancers who brought the show to life.

“And I'm deeply grateful to the Wallaga community for welcoming us, supporting us, guiding us and teaching us. It's very emotionally charged for me, because I grew up in Bermagui, I love the Wallaga community and my soul soars when their talent and knowledge are appreciated.

“It's our highest priority now to find sustainable funding to ensure the Grow the Music concert at Wallaga becomes an annual event.' 

Maggie Havu of North Narooma attended the concert and said it was a moving and special night.

“Wow! What a night it was at the second Wallaga Lake ‘Grow the Music Community Concert’ was last Friday,” Ms Havu said. “If you and your family were some of the almost 400 who attended, you would have experienced a magical evening  in an atmosphere of true community-spirit.

“Take a bow Jazz Williams, of NSW South-East Arts Council, Lizzy Rutter, the director of Grow the Music, Warren Foster Jr, the irrepressible MC and all the boys and girls, men and women who delighted us with your performances. As well, the last  two acts deserve a special mention.

“Firstly, Gabadoo, an up-and-coming Bermagui singer, who performed his original song ‘Home on the Hill’, an emotional rendition of his life, for which he received enthusiastic applause.

“And lastly, to finish the concert, the renowned, velvety-voiced singer/songwriter Neil Murray of ‘My Island Home’ fame, treated us to a repertoire of his compositions. What awesome talent! What reverend humility!

“Thank-you all for welcoming us to your village and giving us a night to remember...until 2017!”