During 2002, I travelled with a group of 15 members of the Tjuntjuntjarra community from their homelands just north of Eucla ( and 800 kilometres east of Kalgoorlie), to Adelaide, Perth, the North West and finally to Germany. The purpose of this travel was to present the community’s story through their own eyes in the Black Swan Theatre Company production Mamu.
Their story centres around their removal from their homelands for the Maralinga nuclear tests, and their subsequent decision to return to their country after the Royal Commission in the 1980s. During the course of the show, elders of the community sang Inma (a word that encompasses not only our western idea of song, but also dance and ceremony) while I and another western musician accompanied them on cello and percussion. These on-stage improvisations formed the basis for this work.
At the heart of the piece is the Kalaya Inma (the Emu song) – a song about the owners of the spinifex lands before the spinifex people became custodians. It is sung by three elders – Mr Underwood, Mr Jamieson and Mr Grant, and the recording is used with their permission. This being my first collaboration with them, I have titled it Inma Kutju, Kutju being the Pitjantjarra word for “one” or “first”. It is dedicated to the elders, for all they have taught me and continue to teach me.
This piece is reliant on suitable use of a delay unit. Delay should be set at 394.7 milliseconds.This is equivalent to a crotchet beat tempo of 152.2 BPM.
The number of repeats (feedback level) is at the discretion of the performer, but there should be at least 2 strongly heard repetitions of each note, and approx 6 in total.
The Boss DD3 pedal is a recommended unit for ease of use and affordability.
While the Backing CD is unscored, there are WHOOSH marking under the cello part to facilitate ensemble.
The cello should be amplified, and the cello and delay sound should sit within the CD sound, not too far in front. The work is concieved as a duet with the Spinifex elders.