An invitation to sing in Noongar language with a new songbook

[by Xenica Ayling]


Image: supplied

The unique songbook Kalyakoorl, ngalak warangka, (Forever, we sing) by award-winning musicians Gina Williams AM and Guy Ghouse is a celebration of Noongar language and will be published 1 September by Magabala Books.


The collection of songs in Kalyakoorl, ngalak warangka represent the first two albums Gina and Guy released: Kalyakoorl (Forever) and Bindi Bindi (The Butterfly). The anthology is informed by the four principles of Koort (Heart), Moort (Family and Community), Boodja (Land) and Koorlangka (Children and Legacy).


‘Not so long ago, this language was forbidden’ said Gina Williams. ‘Our languages have been reduced to a whisper. But we see change coming - our work with children in schools is a great example (we’ve done over 500 school incursions).’


With less than 400 fluent Noongar language speakers, the songbook represents a historic continuation of living culture.


It is Gina and Guy’s hope that, through this collection of scores and song sheets, their music will be shared through schools, choirs and community groups.


‘It’s incredibly important to be able to share Noongar language,’ said Gina.


‘My belief is that we should all be able to understand some of the language of the land on which we live, because we all call this place home. You cannot separate language from culture, so even a handful of words can make us look at country and its people differently. ‘Our biggest hope is to hear kids singing language,’ said Gina.


‘Singing is a great way to learn language, and it’s probably the most efficient way to learn if you are unable to practice with other speakers.’


‘Gina and Guy’s music transcends cultural barriers and welcomes all who listen to appreciate Noongar language and culture,’ said Magabala Publisher Rachel Bin Salleh.


‘Magabala Books is proud to publish their first bilingual songbook. Schools, choirs, musicians, arts practitioners and community groups can now celebrate Noongar culture through the universal language of music.’


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