For the last 14 years, Desert Pea Media (DPM) have been talking and rapping their way around remote and rural communities creating important social and cultural dialogue. DPM was established as a response to huge disadvantages, both culturally and socially, many Indigenous Australians continue to suffer as a direct consequence of our shameful history of racism and violence.
The Desert Pea Media crew worked with students from Walgett and Warren Central Schools in June 2016 to deliver a unique song-writing process aiming to create dialogue around social and cultural issues in the community. ‘ In Walgett, the process was informed and supported by Indigenous staff and the content was created and directed as a group process. In Warren, a group of local Elders as well as school staff and the wonderful Fleur Stubbs from Outback Arts were integral in the planning process and the content was directed by high school students and Elders, and put together by DPM staff.
‘Dhinawan Touch The Stars’
The project featured Indigenous hip hop artist, performer and director Fred Leone from Impossible Odds Records and music by acclaimed Australian Music Producer and musician Carlo Santone of Skin/Blue King Brown/Nattali Rize.
Discussions surrounded connection to country, to culture, to songline – referring specifically to the emu (dhinawan) story, which features in the chorus:
‘My country where the songlines are, where dhinawan touch the stars.
Sunset see the red light glow, my heart beats to get back home’.
Participants identified their deep connection to country and wanted to celebrate the contemporary culture of their community â€“ their connection to elders and family. Â Young people also identified huge social disadvantages around trauma, drugs, alcohol and violence and were aware of the importance of making good decisions and the importance of being role models for their community.
Discussions surrounded social and cultural history of the area, as the crew decided that it is important to educate the community about their collective history and their cultural identity. ‘ The violent and shameful treatment of local Indigenous people in Warren and the surrounding area was juxtaposed against contemporary culture, and the importance of having a strong and proud cultural identity and a sense of self-worth.
“So have you heard the word
My people from the Beemunnel Reserve
My people still connected to the earth
I hope you know your worth
I hope you take pride in your work
Switch it up so we can get what we deserve.’
This project is a partnership between DPM and Outback Arts, funded by the Indigenous Language and Arts Program by the Ministry for the Arts and the Kirby Foundation.