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Song, song story, new music project

The project text is all here

Index follows AC fellowship form layout

** project title and summary

** PM career relevant to project

** PM highlights

** project outline

** project production and timing

** people involved

** benefits

** support material

note: go to project support for overviews

Song, song story and new music project .. a summary


(My name is Peter Mummé)

I would like to apply for a fellowship grant, to assist in providing the time, space, encouragement and $s to produce a series of inter-related art-works designed to encourage more peoples to engage with this continent’s natural history, indigenous culture and its possibilities


The project is based on my own long experiences and musical productions - plus that of my close relationship with two indigenous Yolngu elders.


Our ‘song, song story and new music project’ offers .. 


A broad view of the sounds, images, music and stories available to us all in this country


An explore of our Indigenous human-arts culture via song, story and the creation of new public works 


A sharing of the resources, the ideas, the resulting art-works - and the project process itself, as representative of emergent new media languages and programs


To assist mainstream approaching Australian music, Indigenous traditional song and ceremony in meaningful and potentially ‘useful’ ways


The project draws on the knowledge, experience and resources of myself and two/three Yolngu elders, to so engage

project summary

PM career


Long time production of programs for radio, cd, live performance, schools, video, film; prime interest in bringing australian sounds into australian music


Submissions to the ABC for radio network (with others) .. to help ་create Radio National (1980s)


 ABC melb radio broadcast 6 month series of 3’ recordings of dawn nature and man-made sound-scapes all across Melbourne


ABC classic FM radio program on new music & Australian sounds 1991 draws ‘record listener response’


ABC Radio National ‘music deli’ program on trad song, 2001 with J Djamunba produced (excerpt in support material)


Soundtracks for installation, museums and exhibitions include

Cairns international airport - a large (natural) ‘sound experience’ created in 1997; many sound 'snippets' create a moving tapestry of sounds that alter as does the time of day and night

‘Scar tree’ soundtrack, Melbourne city square, 2001 - installation using sculptured wood poles as the medium expressing the emotions of the indigenous artists


Cultural tour of Japan with ‘Waak waak jungi’ group combines Indigenous traditional song and new Australian music and (in Japan) traditional Ainu music, 1998

Community dvd video ‘traditional song and dance’ 2007 in Ramingining made and presented to the community


CDs produced include Waak Waak Djungi: ‘Waak waak ga Min min’; ’New Day’ (ABC); ‘Coranderrk’; 'Eucalypt'


Re-release of (1997) 'Waak waak djungi' cd/lp thru' 2016-8 creates interest all around world, unexpected and gratifying    (listen to and read story on sitel)


Won prizes for cd, commercial, radiophonic, film soundtrack and dance (music) production


 Papers and submissions include:


‘Both ways’ sub to NT gov & arts 2008


2007-10 ‘Arts and culture’ sub to politicians; ANKAA; ATSIA 


Constitutional Recognition committee - published 2018


I am finding that all experience in ‘life-arts’ allows a calmer and broader view to slowly emerge .. this now bringing a confidence and capability to express a greater appreciation of the myriad relationships - of people, country and life  that exist here)


PM career highlights


I have pitched these in the ‘time and place’ context - the stories - in which they occurred


I recall one, from about 1990, when, with lots of personal ‘success’ (music sales, work, radio, attention) being hailed ‘success’, I realised that I was taking myself far too seriously - when I suddenly heard what I was actually saying this one time .. and it was not pleasant !

It did however indicate that the (needed) transition of my individual (ego) view into a broader, more-mindful life was now ‘named’ - and happening


Another occurred during my first visits into Ramingining, in central arnhemland, Yolngu country, thru’ the early 1990s - and into the 2000s .. 

I was realising that Indigenous traditional song is 'also' about birds and also about country, but goes way beyond the tacit representation of these aspects in (my) 'second-hand' technique .. 


These visits were a real puzzle for me - I was recognising the enviro sounds, the bird calls, the light, the trees, the colours .. but felt as though I was in a different planet, one operating with a completely ‘alien’ (to me) world view


There were inklings emerging that ‘pointed’ to the reasons for the puzzled feelings .. one was the complete community ‘joy of acceptance’ of life, people, occasion, impromptu performance, simply meeting in the street .. and another was of seeing arnhem from the air - winding rivers, age old escarpment, horizons, creation spirits - images invoking feelings quite unlike the usual rationales .. here were the visual manifestations of the songs we were still singing .. big picture stuff, timeless, hints of all kinds of (usually hidden) connections being revealed


Inklings and puzzles and language .. of finding the arts - the languages - within which to live as we inherently are, and thence to express the ‘all’ of the life experience 

(I am writing this now, 2019 .. this does not mean that the words now necessarily mean anymore than the ‘puzzle’ then .. it might point to the ever ‘updating’ capacity of our minds perhaps ?)


Intuition, inklings and arts languages have continued to become of increased interest .. I ‘found myself’ living with a Tibetan monk in 2011, working as amanuensis (listening, writing, recording, puzzling) for 3-4 years .. I did not realise this experience as a ‘highlight’ or an ‘event’ ’til very recently 

Life now is all very fine 


'Song, song story and new music' description


The project is based on my own long experiences and musical productions - plus that of my close relationship with two indigenous Yolngu elders.


The aim is to produce a series of shared works that depict both where we feel we are ‘up to’ in this continent plus an exploring of the human-arts thru' which we might all come to benefit thru' our living life here with a little more wonder and open heartedness


We feel that this resource base is broad enough and sufficiently resilient to allow this .. 


The project is basically a combining of ‘old’ wisdom with appropriate ‘new’ languages .. of re-imagining old story in new ways


Traditional Indigenous culture here is relationship based - and lives within a complex interwoven knowledge system of kinship

Everyone and every-thing lives interdependently in traditional life, whereas colonist/settler life does not, it sees the world in terms of separated objects and individual achievements


That there is difficulty in each view's comprehending what the ‘other is about’ is not in doubt .. but we feel that there are alternative ways to approach this 


Traditional Indigenous views of social, arts, community life and culture differ markedly from our usual (white fella) constructs. We hope this project might offer and allow our 'old' ideas to be seen as being experience based and valid;  knowledge that is worthy of respect,  consideration, maintaining, study and broader public understanding .. 


Ideas such as ’sharing’ mediation, kinship/relationship, music and song, ceremony .. 


I’ve called these ‘human arts’ .. they seem (to me) to equate with human-life wisdom and the application of the (black fella) pragmatic (day-to-day) social constructs - that emerge from these art concepts - are absolutely clear and coherent

How to do this ?


We intend using song as a major element in this project - this allowing a relatively easy and familiar approach thru' which we may appreciate more of the communicative aspects inherent to all song - but often missed or ignored in our busy-life


Song; bird song, environment song - water song, air and earth song, people song - songs for children, birth, ceremony, dying, seasonal well-being, instruction, of finding one's way in country, to food and songs for fun


We all know song, whether it’s pop and advertising jingle or learning our ‘times tables' !

Mothers use it, schools use it, we all use it.   

We recall events and places by using song.


We remember the ‘shapes’ of songs (the ‘hooks’ in pop and advert)

so do birds, so do whales, so do trees, so does water

We find and play with the qualities of song to broaden the story .. aspects we can consider include 


How do birds learn song; how do we learn song;  why and what do we sing about; how we sing about things .. 


Song links us to life, ours and those of our birds, environments (even noise ones) .. examples


Alternatives to man-made sounds were once useful - are they still ? .. examples


Music based on sounds, music as sounds as music, examples and constructs


Singing with our earth; communicating via ceremonial, mantra and chant 'song'; the relationships of vibration with earth, cosmos, people, sacred ceremony .. examples and stories in project support material 

how to do

Production activities and details


Recording and presenting two/three song-line stories concerned with maintaining the health and restitution of earth and her inhabitants


Recording and presentation of a major traditional song ceremony ..  ‘Bush Honey’

This has been offered by J.Djamunba to present as a public recording


New music pieces - some solo instrumental, some with a nature sound base, some purely as sound environs .. plus an exposé on our bird calls


Plus the background stories that enable the project


As with the traditional song ‘bush honey’ for example, there is constant concern being expressed by our indigenous elders about the ‘fading’ - and possible loss of traditional culture.

There is serious Indigenous elder discussion that secret ceremonies could be made public in the hope that some will survive.

Similar views are being expressed by HH Dalai Lama on the exact same topic.


Also to bring stories of the philosophy and techniques (the why and how) we might want to spend our lives in 'arts

Production and timing schedules


There are production aspects inherent to the project that have different requirements.


Location recording, travel, studio editing and compiling, discussion and previewing.  Some of these aspects are subject to weather and location accessibility


Flexibility and timing are needed in some cases, especially in relation to location and travel 


The project will be facilitated  by creating three overlapping categories. 


A resource and retrospective aspect 

The basic searching, compiling, editing and presentation tasks inherent to this section would continue all thru the project, they are generally able to be worked on at any time or place (a place that has electricity, internet, reasonable quiet and reasonable weather


A sharing of culture reimagining aspect 

This is the location work needing travel, equipping, space, access to people and place, weather and community personnel dependent .. it needs flexible documentation methodology


I’ve found it best to spread such work over a couple of ‘seasons’ - and creating an atmosphere of talk, discussion, community interaction, funding, hunting, meals .. with the documentation process being available (set up) all the time


A mentoring aspect 

For both mid-age Yolngu and general public 

This is a continuous process; the ideas, the projects, the tours, talks, topics, people involved, family business, venues, methodologies .. are all constantly discussed


Current talk in developing this immediate project is expanding as more associates and participants are encouraged to engage


Key personnel biogs


Bobby Bunnungurr is from Ramingining, central arnhemland NT

He talks, sings, dances, paints and explains culture business untiringly

Bobby is of the Yirritja moiety, his tribe Maliburr and his language Ganalbingu. 

His dreamings are water lilies, crocodile, long neck turtle, spider, magpie goose, 

tobacco and the rainbow serpent. 


Bobby can be heard on several recordings of both traditional and contemporary Yolngu music and has toured internationally.


Jimmy Djamunba is a traditional songman and ceremonial leader from Ramingining 

N.E. Arnhem Land. 

His moiety is Dhuwa and his language is Djinang.

Jimmy belongs to the Marangu tribe and his dreamings are those of his traditional songs - black crow, stringy bark, honey bee, bream fish and palm trees.  


Djamunba is a songman; his manikay (special songs) are sung at initiation and funeral 

ceremonies to ‘call’ or ‘announce’ the names of all visiting clan/families to welcome them  

(further story here - skysinging/ramingining)

(end link)


Peter Mummé lives in Northern territory, 26k from Darwin and 550k from Ramingining (see biog here)


Benefits to me, my community and the wider public


My experience, capabilities, connections and confidence all converge to allow these ’topics’ to be considered and made ‘visible’ with the intent and hope that they also come to be viewed as being generally beneficial and thence be considered by more people in mainstream life


I have sufficient ’skills’ in arts, music, performance and production to be confident in the validity of offering such topics as ‘Arts’


Bringing the project’s aspects’ into public focus.


Developing potentials for program, talk, performance and touring.


To approach and re-establishing links with  ABC, SBS, DJs, new media, streaming and online so as to promote and ‘open up’ such cultural interchange and provide a ‘push’ for new and revitalised media to engage better with life, country and culture by a using new approaches to program ideas and content       See new media

Broad social benefits


To assist in creating new public programs that allow broader Australian life stories to be heard, seen and experienced


To promote the consideration of Indigenous culture as offering a valued human resource - for all peoples and countries


To create new human-arts social paradigms that are ‘visible’ and make sense

In developing new ‘art-form’ languages that allow and promote better (mainstream) understanding of ‘old’ culture


To link ‘old’ spirit culture life with modern utility life, a ‘both ways’ process that 'shares' qualitative life with ‘appropriate  technological


I have come to realise that our human-arts and our old ceremonies (of communion, mediation, sharing) are the same process - ie bringing intuition into a new ‘clear’ space and allowing a ‘new’ vision to emerge from the intuited-known into becoming shared-known  (Uluru statement from the heart for example)


 What elements might assist us, in mainstream, to begin such practice .. it undoubtedly works


This sounds like the base aim for this project !


Thankyou for reading


PM June 2019

support matl

Support material

see FC support letter 

see MK support letter

see CS support letter

see MS support letter


New sounds and musics support

Ramingining back story

PM biog



Re-release 'Waak waak Djungi' - Eff Space

Re-release 'Waak waak Djungi' - here


Contact me

Project Support URLs

URL 1:

The 'song, song-story and new music' project over-view


URL 2:

This page contains the whole submission .. easier to read and to link to/from the various support and addendum pages

URL 3:

Biog for PM, laid out as resumé, story, time-line and process

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