Friday, June 13, 2008

The Dreaming - Indigenous arts festival

I spent the long weekend at The Dreaming in Woodford. It was a glorious three days: the warmth and connectedness of the people and the gloriously rich array of artistic offering more than making up for the drizzle that came and went over the weekend.

I guess I had the idea that The Dreaming was mainly a music festival - maybe because Woodford in the summer is very much associated with music. And indeed there was some fabulous music, the most memorable being that of Gurrumal who touched the audience again and again with his beautiful melodies and a heartfelt transmission quite beyond words.

But there is so much more than music. I saw some fabulous theatre. A quite exceptional piece called 'Strange Resting Places' followed the fortune of two Maori soldiers in Italy in the second world war. It both entertained and informed me. There was a rich and varied program of dance, an almost continual screening of film, forums, talks, comedy, traditional healing, galleries, rituals, workshops and warm campfire circles where the dreaming magic always seemed to sit me next to someone with a fascinating story to tell.

I am so grateful to Rhoda Roberts for her vision in creating this event and giving us an opportunity to connect with, learn about and participate in such a wide variety of indigenous cultures. I can't recommend it enough. Hope to see you there next year!

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