Song Spirals: Sharing Women’s Wisdom of Country Through Songlines by Gay’wu Group of Women
Shortlisted for Victorian Premier’s Literary award 2020
‘We want you to come with us on our journey, our journey of songspirals. Songspirals are the essence of people in this land, the essence of every clan. We belong to the land and it belongs to us. We sing to the land, sing about the land. We are that land. It sings to us.’
Aboriginal Australians are the longest-surviving human culture on earth, and at the heart of Aboriginal culture is song. These ancient narratives of landscape have often been described as a means of navigating across vast distances without a map, but they are much, much more than this. Songspirals are sung by Aboriginal people to awaken Country, to make and remake the life-giving connections between people and place.
Songspirals are radically different ways of understanding the relationship people can have with the landscape. For Yolngu people from North East Arnhem Land, women and men play different roles in bringing songlines to life, yet the vast majority of what has been published is about men’s songlines.
Songspirals is a rare opportunity for outsiders to experience Aboriginal women’s role in crying the songlines in a very authentic and direct form.
‘Songspirals are Life. These are cultural words from wise women. As an Aboriginal woman this is profound to learn. As a human being Songspirals is an absolute privilege to read.’ – Ali Cobby Eckermann is a Yankunytjatjara poet
‘To read Songspirals is to change the way you see, think and feel this country.’ – Clare Wright, award-winning historian and author