Local folk: Expressing culture and challenging the status quo

NEWCOMER: Bermagui born Djiringanj man Gabadoo will perform at this year’s Cobargo Folk Festival. Picture: Stan GortonThere is much more to the Cobargo Folk Festival than musicians influenced by the20th century folkrevival period.

At the foot of Gulaga mountain, the showground becomes a meeting place, much as the area was for tens of thousands of years.

Issues including climate change, our natural environment, the sharing of stories and the region’s Indigenous cultures will be discussed by a range of unique minds, many of them local residents.

Ideas from the Edge is a forum that challenges the status quo and addsan extra layer to the weekend long festivities.

One of the talks will be given by Bermagui’s Rodney“Murrum”Kelly, who is battling to have Australian artefacts repatriated from museums around the world.

Mr Kelly returned late last year from a groundbreaking European trip to lobby for the repatriation of Gweagal artefacts, and vows to return to Britainin the near future to continue the fight.

“I’m going to talk about artefacts in museums, and the need for them to be home so people can learn about what happened in 1770,” Mr Kelly said.

“I’ll let people know what they mean to us, and what can be learnt after they return.”

Mr Kelly had traveled the world over the last year sharing his culture and discussing the imbalance of what is written in Australian history books about the momentLieutenant James Cook and his men landed on the shores ofKurnell.

“To me its important the true story is told,” he said.

“Many people still don’t know what happened in 1770, and they need to learn the true history.

“If people knew the real history they might be able to understand us better.”

Mr Kelly is excited to see the festival bill full of talent from nearby towns and villages.

“We have some good local talent here, and it’s important to have our voices heard at local and national events,” he said.

“Our story andour culture needs to be in people’s minds, and to have a prominent voice at the festival will go a long way to achieving that.”

Performing after the official opening on Saturday morning will be Bermagui bornDjiringanj man Gabadoo.

He will be part of the Eileen Morgan Memorial Indigenous Concert, which will also featureAlison Walker, Tekeisha Thomas, the Djiringanj Dancers, the Njaardi Sisters Womens Choir, Gina Williams and Glenn Skuthorpe.

“Gabadoo is musically talented and it’s great to see a local Indigenous man get out there and get his message heard,” Mr Kelly said.

“He is showing the young Indigenous kids that you don’t have to be shy, just get out there and give it a go.”

“It’s also important to have our dancers at the festival, because it showcases our culture and gets people wanting to know more.

“It’s great for the young girls growing up learning about their culture.”

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