Dr Clint Bracknell, a musician and ethnomusicologist based at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, The University of Sydney, is using an ARC Discovery Indigenous scheme grant to increase the vitality of musical traditions of the Noongar language of South Western Australia.

Despite over 35,000 people identifying as Noongar in the last census, under 400 people self-identified as speakers of the Noongar language, and the tradition of songs in the language is in grave danger.

Dr Bracknell, who has been working since 2010 on language revitalisation with his family from the south coast of Western Australia, the Wirlomin Noongar people, has consolidated 99 Noongar songs texts, mostly from old handwritten manuscripts or on poor-quality audio recordings.

Dr Bracknell is using his ARC Discovery Indigenous grant to undertake world-leading music research that is focussed on communities and the participation of Indigenous researchers. He is working with Noongar people to create a substantial resource of old and new songs and language material for future generations.

He aims to help revive the song tradition through holding workshops and gatherings, reconnecting Noongar people to the old songs, and breathing a new energy through the tradition.

Image: Stock image—Acoustic guitar.
Image credit: iStock.com/smirart.