Towards the northern part of the Spinifex lands, there is a magical place called Mirramirratjarra. Like Ooldea, many hundreds of kilometers to the south-east, it has for millennia been, amongst other things, a meeting place for indigenous people. Mr Roy Underwood, one of the senior Elders of the Spinifex Homelands took me there once, and this work is a reflection on that treasured experience.
Mirramirratjara is a companion piece to the Elders’ Mamu Inma – a song series about a spirit-being best equated to the western ideas of the devil or a trickster god. Like the Inma it runs parallel to, it is episodic, with recurring chapters of rhythmic propulsion, solo instrumental features and descending chorales that echo the shape of the indigenous song.
As with the orchestral work Ooldea, this work is intended not as an accompanied traditional song, nor as an western musical reworking of indigenous themes. It is, I hope, simply a meeting place. A work within which the musical forces of Australia’s European heritage share a campfire with some of Australia’s traditional owners. A campfire around which history may become a source of shared pride, and where time might reveal a communal future rather than a buried, stolen past.