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Sounds Of The Pilbara II: Songs In Language finishes recording

15 May



Groundbreaking collaboration with Celebrate WA and Karlka Nyiyaparli Aboriginal Corporation results in successful recording phase, capturing five different Indigenous languages and over 25 tracks, to be released mid-year on unique compilation.

Over three weeks in a special studio setup in the Pilbara, WAM is excited to announce the recording process of the Sounds Of The Pilbara II: Songs In Language project has finished, with some incredible results now entering the next stage of production to be prepared for a digital and CD release in mid 2015. Capturing a range of songs in five Indigenous languages from WA’s Pilbara region, including Nyiyaparli, Nyangumarta, Nyamal, Ngarluma and Kurrama (find out more on the 31 different language groups from the Pilbara at

With an overall involvement of 14 contributing vocalists plus over 40 students from Warralong and Strelly community schools recorded, the project heralds a unique direction for the critically applauded Sounds Of compilation series. The recording sessions have resulted in over 25 tracks, including some composed of numerous small tracks, capturing a range of songs in Indigenous languages from WA’s Pilbara region, stories from country and contemporary music.

Recording participants were selected with assistance from Wangka Maya staff and board members and through WAM’s Indigenous contemporary music contacts built up through research and previous projects in the Pilbara.

As well as promoting the preservation of Aboriginal languages, culture and history through this project, WAM has helped developed the audio engineering skills of five locally-based emerging Indigenous engineers and linguists through informal mentoring from award-winning studio engineers Matt Gio and Sean Lillico. This mentoring model has been proven in demonstrating lasting benefits for communities in past Sounds Of projects, and already the positive effects of Sounds Of The Pilbara II are being evidenced. A training session was also provided for four Wangka Maya staff on the use of their different microphones, recording devices and programs, specifically noise reduction, assisting them to more clearly record languages through their work.

The project could not be undertaken without the partnership of Celebrate WA and Karlka Nyiyaparli Aboriginal Corporation (KNAC), this traditional owner corporation sponsorship breaking new ground in collaborative creative partnerships in Western Australia.

Of this partnership, Bradley Hall from KNAC said, “Sounds Of The Pilbara II serves to record and preserve the traditional Indigenous languages found throughout the Pilbara. Karlka Nyiyaparli Aboriginal Corporation is very pleased to be involved as partners in this project. We welcome this focus and expect it to result in an increase in public recognition and appreciation of Indigenous languages.”

Throughout this project, WAM is also privileged to be working closely with Pilbara Indigenous language linguists from Wangka Maya. The relationship with Wangka Maya is important to ensure we are working towards outcomes that align with the peak organisation for Indigenous languages in the region.

“This is the third Sounds Of project we have been a part of”, noted Celebrate WA CEO Patria Jafferies, “and we’re particularly proud to be part of the collective creating this permanent collection of songs in language. It allows us to highlight to Western Australia and beyond the rich diversity of our state.”

WAM CEO Mike Harris added, “The diversity of partners supporting this project is testament to its importance. It’s fundamental imperative is to protect and cherish traditional indigenous language through the medium of music.”

Alongside major partners Celebrate WA and Karlka Nyiyaparli Aboriginal Corporation, WAM would like to thank Pilbara Development Commission, Pilbara Ports Authority and Horizon Power for their support in this project, plus acknowledge the in-kind support from Soundtown, Rio Tinto Dampier Salt and the Town of Port Hedland.

Currently in the final production stages, Sounds Of The Pilbara II: Songs In Language is due to be released mid-2015.


*Photo of Tyson Mowarin*


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Soundtownpilbara development commission

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Government of Western Australia Department of Culture and The Arts Australian Government

WAM is supported by the State Government through the Department of Culture and the Arts, and is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.