DFT Diary - Thursday 7th July
Day 12 - Yandeyarra concert
I got a call from Bobby West first thing this morning. He is driving into town from Kiwirrkurra to be with the boys! I was so excited I wanted to yell. Once again my fears where proven pointless. With Bobby here I know the boys will get home safe. More importantly it means I am no longer their ward. He is keen to see his sons play at Port Hedland alongside Mary G just like a proud Dad, and I am really looking forward to seeing him again tonight. He said he will be in Yandeyarra by the time the concert starts, so with a rising sprit I began the final run, and it’s going to be a hard push.
We have a workshop and a concert to perform each day; 3 communities, 3 days. It means full set up and pull-down every day. Yandeyarra is 2 hrs south, and Warralong is 3 hrs north of Port Hedland. There are 17 of us now, in 2 four wheel drives and a truck. To get to Yandeyarra by midday ready for the school assembly at 1 pm we needed to be on the road by 9. I had the crew up with their porridge and coffee by 7am. With Ben and Rob now here we even had a little Yoga session in the dining area at 5:30am. Rob led it, and it was very energising.
I didn’t sleep well last night so I’m pretty stuffed now. I’m a bit run down with a bit of a sore throat, not what you want when you need to sing. Candice and Brian both have bad sounding chest coughs they have brought up from Perth, and Emily has picked up a pretty bad flu from the kids. Both Sean and Chantelle are sick but are still soldiering on. Tony has a bad cut on his foot that won’t heal, looks like blood poisoning again.
All in all though we have done well. We are on the home stretch now, all downhill from here. With fresh reinforcements we will be ok, but the next 3 days will be hard work no matter how you look at it.
Yandeyarra is not far off the Newman road so it is mostly sealed bitumen. It’s absolutely luxurious after what we’ve been through. The last 50 km was into the Pilbara cattle country, back onto the dusty gravel. We crossed the Yule River and pulled into what is quite a big community; Yandeyarra.
We were well received by the school principle Grahame, who had nice quarters for us to bump into straight away. I left Candice to make the lunch sandwiches and the rest of us went over for setup.
It was great to have my full team back again.
I had forgotten how much I missed Bryte, and his new Hip Hop workshop was very cool. He got the kids to write a rap song then recorded it. He had prearranged a funky beat with some hooks for the kids to call out. Then he dubbed them into the song and mixed them up like a master DJ. The result was a catchy song that was as good as any. He is such a pro that guy!
Simon is the man now at the song writing workshops. He is a seasoned performer capable of improvising on the spot. I would even go as far as to call him a virtuoso. In some communities the kids like country music and in others reggae, but Simon can find a chord progression on the spot to fit anything you can think of; rock, folk, reggae, you name it.
For the kids to see that the same chords played with a different feel changes the type of song is impressive stuff. He fearlessly writes the songs on the spot - words, feel and chords - then sings it, plays it and remembers it! All I have to do now is help the kids with ideas and sing along. This is a big help for me.
Before I finish blowing Simon’s horn I just want to add one other thing. A song is only as good as its hook line or melody. Simon never failed in all the workshops to pull a hook line out of the air that had the kids screaming the song at the top of their lungs. After the workshop the kids where still singing that song.
At the concert we got them up again with the Kiwirrkurra band to sing it live on stage. The recording from this song is the one that we will use in the reports. It should be available from the website very soon.
Unfortunately, the community did not have a local band, but with Candice and Bryte both here now, there are five acts; just about enough for a festival, let alone a small concert.
We got a very nice response to our work here. The principal was so happy with us I found a glowing report Cc’d to BHP and several other agencies in my inbox the following morning! I was pretty blown away by that.