Thursday 20 October, 2011

peter_lowsonblog2img22010 MiCN Award winner Peter Lowson has been working with Indigenous Youth and Adult education programs since 1983. In 2004 he started Drum Atweme, initially as a means of encourage school attendance. Although primarily Afro-Cuban and Brazilian influenced, the rhythms are worked around the songs and stories of the indigenous participants’ culture. The program has transformed the lives of countless Alice Springs town camp-based children. 

Peter will be our MiCN Mentor blogging for us this month live from Alice Springs...

I have had a pretty busy week working with the year 12 students of  Our Lady Of the Sacred Heart School. About 50 of them are preparing and rehearsing a percussion piece for their 'Roast and Toast' day. This should be a lot of fun! The students a really keen and we have put together a good strong piece of music. I'm also working with year 6 kids of Sadadeen Primary for their end of the year graduation. The students are really looking forward to it and have been putting in the effort.

blog2img3The performance group Drum Atweme have been busy with four performances in the last week - mainly playing to American tourists. This is good for the kids as it's a performance followed by a meet and greet. It helps build the kids confidence and self esteem. At these performances we get people up and dancing and playing percussion.

The kids also teach the tourists about their language. For most of the performers, English is a second, third or even fourth language. They speak Eastern, Western and Central Arrernte, Luritja and Walpiri. For example - a simple word like 'water' in Arrente is 'Kwatye', in Walpiri 'Napa' or in Luritja 'Kapi'. This is really good to share with other people and it all comes about through that wonderful sharing and playing of music.

As you read in my last blog, we have recently been to Uluru to perform. Just getting out there was really difficult. We have experienced many fires recently in Central Australia and so we had to make sure that the road was safe to drive through. Even though we got the go ahead there was still fires burning along the road and we could see smoke way off into the distance.

And another thing - around this time of the year (October - November) is the time Aboriginal law takes place. We had to talk to the Elders and Community leaders and make surethat it was okay for us to travel on these roads so we were not accidentally disrespectful of any ceremonies.

blog2img1I hope this finds everyone well.






Photographs by Charlie Lowson