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An unforgettable evening of songs and stories from the Pilbara


Photo credit: Songs for Peace by Joseph Penipe Photography and Videography (2022)

Songs For Freedom returns to Dyoondalup Point Walter Reserve on 5th March as songwriters from the community of leramugadu (Roebourne) come together for an evening of songs and story, which includes a free concert with cultural activities for the whole family.


Presented by the community of Ieramugadu (Roebourne) and leading arts and social change organisation Big hART, in partnership with Perth Festival and the City of Melville, this powerful performance written on Ngarluma country is a true celebration of the music, people, and country of the Pilbara.


Under the musical direction of Grammy Award-winning artist Lucky Oceans, Songs For Freedom offers heartfelt messages of freedom and hope from the Pilbara mob, in their own words, and is set to fill the night sky with songs of hope, peace, freedom and country.


Roebourne Elders, community songwriters and narrator Patrick Churnside will welcome special guests to the stage, including much loved WA artists John Bennett, Stephen Pigram, Kankawa Nagarra, Tehya Makani, Naomi Pigram, Fred Ryan, Kendall Smith and Vikki Thorn.


The concert also celebrates the release of an album of the same name – a collection of 16 songs and stories selected from close to 100 songs written and workshopped by community since 2011, which are performed by a long and outstanding list of Australian musicians coming together under the name of The Freedom Collective.


Allery Sandy, Yindjibarndi Elder and Cultural Advisor and performer with Big hART says: “We are thrilled to bring stories of strength from our community to Perth audiences through this powerful project that supports our community to thrive and speak truth to the nation, together”.


Musical Director Lucky Ocean says: “The Songs For Freedom is a full-hearted collaboration – an ongoing process of creation with the community of Roebourne for more than 10 years,” he says. “The people of Roebourne have shared their voices, music and songs so generously and really bring a sense of community to the stage. It’s a unique and inspiring thing to be a part of.”


Songs For Freedom premiered in 2021 and attracted 3,000 people to Dyoondalup on the Derbari Yerrigan Swan River receiving high accolades. Every year the concert honours the family of John Pat, who, as a 16-year-old died in custody in 1983. His passing triggered the Royal Commission into deaths in custody.


To mark the 40th anniversary of his passing, Songs For Freedom will this year tour the country with the Pat family to raise awareness about the disproportionate number of Aboriginal young people caught up in the justice system. Concert-goers are encouraged to pledge their support for new approaches and legislative reform.


As well as the Perth Festival performance, audiences will come together at Mona Foma in nipaluna/Hobart on 23rd February followed by dates to be announced soon in Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, and Darwin, culminating with a concert finale in the Ieramugadu community (Roebourne) on 23rd September 2023.


What: Songs For Freedom, Perth

When: Sun 5 March | 5pm: Food trucks, kids and cultural activities | 7-9:30pm: concert

Where: Dyoondalup, Point Walter Riverside Park, WA


Pack a picnic and join a message of freedom and a celebration of family. The night will include a moving Welcome to Country and traditional Tjaabi, as well as storytime, weaving, and sand art for children.


LISTEN: ‘Songs of Freedom’ [single] on all good streaming platforms – out now

PRE-SAVE: ‘Songs For Freedom’ [album] by The Freedom Collective. The album will be available digitally, at select record stores, and at bighart.org on Feb 17th.


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