It might sound like a logistical nightmare – bringing more than 100 singers from the remote Torres Strait and Far North Queensland to perform together in the ‘big smoke’.

12 December 2019

But it all came together with choral excellence at the 10 year anniversary of the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF).

Cultural Heights – A Legacy of Traditional Language and Song was the culmination of hundreds of hours of community-based work in some of the most remote communities in Australia.

In one night, three choirs joined to showcase the richness and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, language and song.

‘Cultural Heights was bringing together communities to sing in language, to go back to the old songs, to re-learn the old songs and to write new songs as well – but in language and to sing it in language,’ said CIAF Artistic Director Janina Harding.

Janina was the creative producer of Cultural Heights and came up with the original concept as a special treat for CIAF’s anniversary and to coincide with the International Year of Indigenous Languages.

Cultural Heights included workshops to help revive traditional language, preserve local heritage and encourage intergenerational knowledge-sharing.

Bama Choir Director, Deline Briscoe, said it was an incredible collaboration to be involved with.

‘For every story there's a song, there's a painting, there's a dance… you can't have one without the other,’ Ms Briscoe said.

‘That's just how we retain and transfer knowledge through the generations’