Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Marrma Rom; Sunset Dreaming with Special Guest Neil Murray!

What an incongruous setting for seeing Aboriginal music; the Western
Beach Boat Club in Geelong! It was a little tricky to find but locals
all know it and will tell you where to go. As the night progressed
and the sunset reflected off the sea I begun to feel a strange
parallel feeling of being at the Ski Club in Darwin or the Yacht Club
in Gove much closer to where the boys came to us from.

This gig was a fundraiser for an exciting new Non- Profit
Organisation called Marrma Rom (Two Worlds Foundation), who's brief is
to allow late secondary and tertiary education opportunities to
Aboriginal students.

The local people were supportive and appreciative and I felt they were
right behind the boys and their quest for education. The feeling that
this was a strange place to see this sort of gig simply vanished as
the night progressed; the boys and the audience fed each other with
their enthusiasm and appreciation.

I unfortunately missed the Rudd brothers who performed the first piece
with the boys; but the feedback I heard from audience about them was

Luckily I arrived in time to see Dion Wunungmurra and Yirrmal Marika
singing some tradional songs... this was just wonderful! Dion is
from the delightful little community of Gapuwiyak and Yirrmal (son of
one of Yothu Yindi's dancers) is from Yirrkala; both in North East
Arnhem Land. Raven Marika is the third young man involved in the
program; he plays Bass Guitar.

Next was Neil Murray who has very much "still got it" and is one of
Australia's musical treasures being to the Aussie bush what Paul Kelly
is to the Aussie cities. It was sweet when he devoted his encore to
the young children who had been dancing all night as he sang a song
he'd written for his young daughter.

I prefer seeing Neil Murray playing with a band; but there's something
charming about a man up there alone with a guitar and the crowd loved
his set particularly "Good light in Broome" which echoed it's
relevance down there at the Boat Club. Seeing him singing My Island
home with young Yirrmal, made me a little teary as I remembered the
Warumpi Band doing this song and dear George Rrurrambu (who Neil wrote
the song for and about); may he Rest in Peace. Yirrmal Marika is a
stirring young singer and you can feel the power of the traditional
Yolgnu male ceremonial singing of his ancestors that awakens your
heart in the unique visceral way they do. No distance would be too far
to travel to make the next fundraiser but be earlier than I was so you
don't miss a single minute!!

5 out of 5 stars; seeing live aboriginal musicians are amazing.
Seeing them so far from home with the Geelong harbour as a backdrop is
simply a delight. Knowing that your ticket price is helping put them
through school is a good bonus too. Neil Murray; the Bob Dylan of the
Australian Outback 4.5 stars.

Next fundraiser should be in September/October; look for news on the
Marrma Rom Facebook page.

Nimal Jayawardhana