Stories and Songs of the People is a unique collaboration of outstanding performing artists, each of whom maintains an international reputation but come together to share Indigenous Peoples Traditions in storytelling, Dance, Music and Art.
The concept originated from a desire by indigenous peoples in Australia and the United States of America to share their experiences and stand together in solidarity by giving voice to sounds, images and ideas often overlooked in mainstream media. In this way many voices are included from poetry, music, storytelling, dance and art. Identity, practical project management and the sharing of culture and tradition is sadly lacking in the speed of 21st Century life but this project stops audiences in their tracks to take a moment and share. Stories and Songs of the People is an initiative of Rediscovering the Seventh Dimension (RSD), a non profit native organization promoting comprehensive development strategies including sustainable agriculture, health programs and community nutrition amongst other things.
Director of RSD Johnnie Aseron is currently in Australia continuing the work of the Stories and Songs of the People Foundation. Johnnie, a Haudenosenee/Lakota hunka, resides on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe reservation (Lakota) in Eagle Butte, South Dakota (USA). He employs storytelling, song, Native American flute and drum, acoustic guitar and percussion to take us to a place that most of us seldom have access to in our everyday lives.
This years performance includes:
Julia BrownWolf (Native American Storytelling), Jennifer Meness (Native American Dance, storytelling), Kerry Neill (Yadaki/Didgeridoo, Aboriginal Australian Storytelling), The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Drum (Native American Drum Group), Johnnie BrownWolf Aseron (Native American Flute, Native American Storytelling), Janet Nakamarra Long (Singer/Fine artist), Nick Larkins (Tasmanian performing artist, Wild Pumpkins At Midnight, w/Monique Brumby) and other guest performers.
Algonquin First Nation from Pikwàkanagàn, Ontario Canada, Jennifer has delighted audiences throughout North America and around the world as a champion Fancy Shawl and Jingle Dress dancer and gifted storyteller. With roots in classical dance training, Meness uses intricate footwork and musical interpretation to make traditional native songs a visual experience. Mentored in the art of storytelling by world-renowned Cherokee storyteller and author Gayle Ross, Meness captivates audiences as she weaves traditional story with song in tales of creation, love and adventures of the Trickster. Headlining international touring productions including Voices of Native America, Native Rites, and Echoes of Earth and Sky Meness quickly became one of Native North America’s most recognizable and favourite performers.
(Hunkpapa Lakota) Pukwana, South Dakota USA. To help facilitate deeper awareness of the human family connection through cultural sensitivity, workshops and seminars, Julia works through the mediums of Fine Art and Storytelling from the perspectives of a Native American Grandmother, Educator and Artist. With a degree in Community Development and Bi-Lingual Teacher Training, as an accredited P.R.I.D.E. Foster Parent Trainer experienced in health related issues for Native communities and larger community issues such as the “Honour Our Mother Earth” (H.O.M.E.), Julia brings a wealth of experience and knowledge for working with the myriad of issues that face Native communities, both in remote rural settings as well as within larger urban structure.
Janet Nakamarra Long
Janet was born in 1960 at Anninie in the traditional land of her people, Warntaparri. She is a Western Central Desert Warlipiri and lived a traditional life with her family and her Aunts May and Molly Napurulla showing her how to paint the traditional body paint designs for her Warntaparri Dreaming. Janet has a deep-rooted understanding and knowledge of the traditional beliefs and practices of her people. Along with her ability as a linguist, Janet has the unique talent and capability to translate the symbols, icons and representational design found within her painting. The stories that she shares through the detail of her artwork are founded in the cultural identity and strength of the Warlpiri people. This combination allows her to impart understanding of her culture through the stories from her artwork in a manner that is achieved by few others.
Tasmanian musician Nick Larkins began his career fronting some of the island’s first punk bands. He was a member of ARIA award winning Tasmanian band Wild Pumpkins At Midnight and lived in Europe for most of the 90s, releasing a handful of albums produced by Tony Cohen (Nick Cave), touring through a dozen countries and collaborating with musicians including Tiddas, Joe Geia and Chris Wilson. He has played major festivals worldwide including Montreaux Jazz Festival, The Big Day Out, Port Fairy and Woodford. Larkins has performed and recorded with a number of Indigenous acts including Deadly nominees The Grenadines, Joe Geia and Stories and Songs of The People.