Homelands Tour: Everybody has a story to tell

Connecting through song: First Nations artists Glenn Skuthorpe from Australia and Michel Bruyere from Canada. Photo supplied
Connecting through song: First Nations artists Glenn Skuthorpe from Australia and Michel Bruyere from Canada. Photo supplied

You're heading across the world to join with others to share stories of your homeland - what do you pack?

A mandolin, traditional buffalo skin rattle, hand drum and handmade star blanket are just a few items members of two of the world's most ancient cultures loaded into their suitcases ahead of their separate journeys to embark on the Australian "Homelands Tour".

First Nations musicians and storytellers Glenn Skuthorpe and Robbie Bundle from Australia, and Michel Bruyere and Shakti Hayes from Canada will come together in Mallacoota to lead a day of cultural exchange, songwriting and music workshops culminating in a live show involving local artists and community members.

Highly acclaimed Nhunggabarra, Kooma, Muruwari singer-songwriter Glenn Skuthorpe will bring along his suitcase full of stories gathered over a life time of playing around campfires on country and the open road. Tattooed on Glenn's left forearm is a red-tailed black cockatoo feather, a symbol of his homeland of Goodooga NSW.

"I take my country with me wherever I go. It's around the campfire that we learn our culture and our stories. That's where I learnt mine sitting around singing and talking with the old people."

Mr Skuthorpe said the mixture of stories from his homeland and those of the open road make for an exciting blend of storytelling.

"No matter where I travel I find inspiration from the people I meet along the way. Everybody has a story tell."

Accomplished bass player and touring artist Shakti Hayes - a Cree and Saulteaux woman from Canada - said whether playing bass guitar or singing traditional Cree songs with her hand drum, it's through her music she bares her soul.

Shakti Hayes' suitcase: Traditional hand drum, buffalo rattle, traditional beaded earrings packed and ready to go. Photo supplied

Shakti Hayes' suitcase: Traditional hand drum, buffalo rattle, traditional beaded earrings packed and ready to go. Photo supplied

"The show is all about the flow. We are on a journey and the audience is part of that journey. There is a much deeper connection when I play, a sacred communication that is a healing," Ms Hayes said.

Laid out side by side on a brightly coloured handwoven tapestry are Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) percussion artist Michel Bruyere's traditional flutes. Each one bears a symbol of animals found in his homeland of Sagkeeng, Manitoba, Canada.

"They were handcrafted by my uncle, our family, spirit and culture are with me. Wherever I go I carry my culture and my story - but so does everyone."

Michel Bruyere's handcrafted flutes from Prairies in Manitoba, Canada. Photo supplied.

Michel Bruyere's handcrafted flutes from Prairies in Manitoba, Canada. Photo supplied.

"We might come from other parts of the world but our stories, struggles, past and our hopes are the same," Mr Bruyere said.

"We carry them with us wherever we go and we invite people to come along and share their stories."

The logo for the Homelands tour depicts the North Star and the Southern Cross constellation with joined fires symbolising the two nations coming together and meeting around the campfires.

"By joining our fires and cultures together there is unity," Mr Bruyere said.

The Homelands Tour will visit Mallacoota on Saturday April 27.

Everybody is invited to share in this special one-off event of inspiring music and culture. For further information visit the Homelands website.

This story Homelands Tour: Everybody has a story to tell first appeared on Magnet.

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