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Celestial Harmonies
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Die australischen Ureinwohner verzichteten bewusst auf Ackerbau und Viehzucht. Das Land war ihnen heilig. Neuere archäologische Forschungen scheinen zu bestätigen, dass die Kultur der Aborigines, die sich u.a. in Felszeichnungen erhalten hat, gut 50.000 Jahre alt, der Kontinent jedoch wenigstens 176.000 Jahre von Menschen bewohnt ist. Das Hauptmusikinstrument vieler Aboriginesvölker, ein von Termiten hohlgefressener Eukalyptusstamm, erlebt bei uns im Westen unter dem Namen 'Didjeridu' (auch Didgeridoo, kurz „didge“) einen wahren Boom. Bei den Ureinwohnern hat das Instrument entsprechend den vielen verschiedenen Sprachen viele Namen. So simpel das Rohr aussieht - wird es von Könnern wie den Aboriginal-Musikern David Hudson, Matthew Doyle, Alan Dargin und Mark Atkins geblasen, entstehen Klangwelten von unerschöpflicher Vielfalt. An den Produktionen wirkten mit: Michael Atherton (Professor und Leiter/Gründer der Musikfakultät der Universität von Western Sydney), Steve Roach u.a

Der junge Aboriginal macht den scheuen 'Lyrebird'-Vogel, Totem des einst in der Sydney-Gegend beheimateten Tharawal-Volkes, zum Thema faszinierender Klangexperimente. Didjeridu, Stammesgesang, Vogelstimmen und Imitationen sowie wirksam eingesetzte Perkussionsinstrumente (Michael Atherton) schaffen ein magisches Ambiente.

the project

The Australian lyrebird is unique. Though shy and elusive, this magnificent creature, who mimics the cries of other songbirds, has been depicted in rock engravings and drawings by indigenous artists for thousands of years. Inspired by the mimicry of the rare Australian songbird, musician and dancer Matthew Doyle sings the lyrebird in the only known recording of a song in the Tharawal language. He mimics the bird's own call using both voice and didjeridu to celebrate the survival and renewal of the lyrebird.

The album opens with New Beginning with the didjeridu exploring the theme of creation, followed by Mouth Music, in which Matthew vocalizes as if he were performing a traditional dance. Mimicry, a feature of the lyrebird's sublimity is continued in Tongue Talk.

In the song Wiridjirbin: The First Lyrebird, Matthew sings the lyrebird in the only known recording of a song in the Tharawal language. It represents a significant moment in both the cultural and linguistic history of New South Wales. Composed by Matthew, he mimics the bird's own call using both voice and didjeridu to celebrate the survival and renewal of the lyrebird. This song is a reconstruction of fragments of a language, no longer spoken, and describes how the first lyrebird was created.

Cave Drawings refers to drawings of lyrebirds close to Sydney. Didjeri-duo begins with an excerpt of a recording made on a misty, damp morning in rainforest country in the Blue Mountains (100 kms west of Sydney), an ideal time and place to hear the lyrebird. The accompanying didjeridu, played by Michael Atherton, was made by Matthew.

Courtship Dance is about the mating ritual and the rhythm of renewal. In Song Bird, Matthew mimics a lyrebird mimicking other birds. In the last track Mungari (which means singing) Matthew renders a technically virtuosic display of lyrebird, cockatoo, brolga, kookaburra, boobook and emu calls.

This recording is dedicated to the memory of Aboriginal artists Malcolm Smith, and Philip Lanley who was one of Matthew's teachers.

the artists

Matthew Doyle, born in 1969, is of Aboriginal/Irish descent. He is related, on his mother's side, to the Yuwalarai people of northwest New South Wales and has been adopted into traditional families in the Northern Territory and Queensland. Matthew graduated from the National Aboriginal and Islander Skills Development Association (NAISDA) where he now teaches. He performs with the Aboriginal Islander Dance Theater and has developed a passionate understanding of and response to the diversity of aborginal culture.

Producer Michael Atherton, a well-known Australian musician, composer and author, is featured on percussion. Michael is the head of the Performing Arts Department and Professor of Music at the University of Western Sydney, Nepean.

biography - atherton

discography - atherton

discography - doyle

tracklist

1 New Beginning 8'05"
2 Mouth Music 3'29"
3 Tongue Talk 1'48"
4 Hand Stencils 6'03"
5 Wiridjiribin: The First Lyrebird 3'12"
6 Cave Drawings 4'47"
7 Didjeri-Duo 7'48"
8 Courtship Dance 2'58"
9 Song Bird 4'04"
10 Mungari 9'35"
  Total Time: 52'30"