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Yamani, Voices of an Ancient Land
ABC ME June 27, 2017

For tens of thousands of years, the rich and beautiful sounds of thousands of languages washed across this earth. Over all of Australia it is believed there were more than 500 at one time. Around 200 years ago, a new language began to replace them, sweeping across Australia with such force that some parts of it could no longer hear the voices that told its stories and held its secrets. A deep silence seemed to be looming.

Then, finally, a change began. As the volume of the old words faded to a whisper in some places, the people who are their custodians began to take action, calling for respect, for the rights to speak and be heard in their traditional tongues, while stirring everyone to appreciate the treasury of knowledge held in their languages.

The Queensland Indigenous Languages Advisory Committee was formed in 2005 in recognition of the need for a state body to advocate for Indigenous languages. Many of the group have known each other for many years prior through informal language networks. Together they have achieved many things for Queensland languages.

Over the years the women have found a collective passion for music and song. Some just love to sing and others wants to see their songs passed on the younger women. It was decided that for one meeting the women would each bring a song in their language to share with the others.

This contemporary musical gathering seeded the realisation singing in this way gives new life to the ancient process of sharing music between communities, and empowers the participants to share their languages. Join with them, by listening or singing along, to let their ancient lands once again - and in ever louder volume - hear the voices that hold and tell its stories.

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