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Local musicians to share Roebourne’s culture, stories when Songs for Freedom returns to Perth

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Cheyanne EncisoPilbara News
The Roebourne community performing at last year's Songs for Freedom.
Camera IconThe Roebourne community performing at last year's Songs for Freedom. Credit: Supplied/Linda Dunjey/Linda Dunjey

The community is set for an evening of music by the river when Songs for Freedom returns to Perth as local musicians aim to shine a light on Roebourne’s living culture and stories.

An umbrella event of the Perth Festival, the event will return to Dyoondalup in Bicton on February 26 and will feature songs written by the Ieramugadu community on Ngarluma country.

Songs for Freedom premiered last year attracting some 3000 people on the Swan River and this year’s music direction will be led by Grammy award-winning artist Lucky Oceans.

It will see performances from Roebourne musician Tyson Mowarin alongside WA musical collaborators Kankawa Nagarra, Naomi Pigram, Stephen Pigram, John, Bennett and David Hyams and Roebourne elders.

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Patrick Churnside
Camera IconPatrick Churnside Credit: Supplied/Linda Dunjey

Songs for Freedom producer Andy Clarke acknowledged the event created a great legacy of healing through songwriting.

“In putting it on the road we’re hoping to share that with other communities and we’re hoping Perth is the first and others will follow in the future,” he said.

“The concert will be a 75-25 per cent split of existing songs written in Roebourne with the community and the prisoners from Roebourne Regional and 25 per cent new songs we’re writing with the community down in Perth.”

Mr Clarke said the songs will explore a variety of themes including country, freedom and peace.

Songs for Freedom is the culmination of 10 years of songwriting development and intercultural exchange between the community, prison, elders and young people.

Workshops began in the prison to honour John Pat, a 16-year-old whose death in custody in 1983 brought sorrow to Roebourne and through songwriting, healed the community.

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