It started as performances at the Desert Song Festival and has evolved into an enduring musical and cultural collaboration.
24 September 2021

The Young Adelaide Voices senior ensemble, Aurora, first took part in Central Australia's Desert Song Festival during the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages celebrations.

Supported by our Festivals Australia program, the innovative artistic program was a collaboration with musicians from Central Australia, Darwin, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Vanuatu and South Africa.

Needless to say, the internationally renowned singers were a hit—not just on stage, but during workshops for community groups and schools in Alice Springs and in the remote Indigenous community of Hermannsburg.

For the performers it was a chance to forge cultural and artistic ties and experience rich languages—Pitjantjatjara from Central Australia, Nakanamanga and Bislama from Vanuatu and Zulu from South Africa.

Aurora Musical Director Christie Anderson said it was a life-changing experience for the choir members.

'It was the first major Aurora tour for many of the young women and it was such a privilege to be part of it,' Christie said. 'The sharing and universal joy of singing have been so powerful.'

Aurora has continued these artistic collaborations with the Central Australian Aboriginal Women's Choir, the Djari Project and the Yolngu Songman Jason Guwanbal Gurruwiwi.

Building relationships like these is a key focus of the Festivals Australia program, which provides people living in regional or remote Australia with the opportunity to participate in and attend an arts experience at a festival, or a one-off community celebration.

There is an additional $2.4 million available for projects planned for next year through the Festivals Australia program as part of the Regional Arts Tourism package.

For more information see the Festivals Australia webpage.

Story image: 'Aurora' performing a satire piece on mobile phones, courtesy of the Desert Song Festival.