Black Arm Band: dirtsong

4 - 5 May 2016 / 19:30

 Sold out

Indigenous music group Black Arm Band unveil the fascinating story of their heritage, language and homelands and a side to Australia seldom seen by the world, taking us on a journey of vast landscapes and diverse communities.

Musicians from all over Australia, from rainforests, deserts, coastal towns and inner cities, demonstrate the vibrancy of Indigenous cultures. Singing in eleven languages and featuring the words of author Alexis Wright (Carpentaria) they give a human voice to these stories, as visuals by Melbourne’s Daybreak Films provide an rare opportunity to observe the communities in their own settings. An evocative juxtaposition of music and images; birds soaring alongside rich vocal harmonies, dust clouds swirl as we hear deep hum of a digeridoo, and children play basketball to hip-hop beats.

‘This tells the story of my connection to jagun (country). How I am the country, how I am keeping the heartbeat of my country going.’ - Emma Donovan, singer and Gumbayngirr woman.

‘Profoundly beautiful’ – Theatreview

‘Rich, melodious and undeniably intoxicating’ – Adelaide InDaily

Post-show talk: Language, Tradition and Musical Futures
Following on from the performance of dirtsong on Thursday 5 May there will be a post-concert talk, as First Nations artists Fred Leone, Shellie Morris and Mark Atkins share their experiences of creating contemporary music inspired by 70,000 years of song, dance and storytelling. The talk will be chaired by Jane Cornwell, Jazz critic at the London Evening Standard.

Complementing dirtsong, Barbican Theatre presents The Shadow King by Malthouse Theatre, which also explores themes of land rights and cultural heritage.

RSVP to this event on Facebook now


Emma Donovan vocals
Shellie Morris vocals
Deline Briscoe vocals
Djolpa McKenzie vocals
Fred Leone vocals
Mark Atkins didgeridoo
Michael Meagher bass
Greg Sheehan drums, percussion
Julien Wilson sax
Nigel Mclean violin
Eugene Ball trumpet
Sam Keevers piano

This event is part of:
Contemporary Music concerts

Produced by the Barbican

Barbican Contemporary Music
London’s home to the boldest new jazz, world, folk, contemporary classical, rock, pop & electronic music from across the globe.


why not try

Trajal Harrell: Hoochie Koochie
20 Jul 17 - 13 Aug 17 / Art Gallery
Information info

Too Young For What?
7 Oct 17 / Barbican Centre
Information info