April 2017 – Composer Joshua McHugh Joins Pama Language Centre as facilitator of the Singing Back Our Languages song writing project

The first workshop is held in NPA in conjunction with the Mpakwithi illustration

The Songs on Country Workshop overlapped wonderfully with the Story and Illustration Workshop. It was evident that the children’s books provided perfect material to fashion into songs; Susan Kennedy’s book ‘Kaffry’ transformed easily with the simple addition of a chorus. I played a few chords on the piano and we started singing the words to the book together; it’s amazing how melodies arise so easily from natural speech intonation; one phrase led to the next and before long a catchy song emerged. The song and book will be published together as an E-book; a wonderful resulting synergy from the blending of different workshops.

As the Kennedy sisters became familiar with the song writing process creative ideas sprang forth effortlessly; eight songs in all. I was thrilled to return to Bamaga to see a whole generation of school children sing “Pimi, Dhwithi, Chumu”, a song about a woodpecker that Vikki wrote for one of the workshops. I was incredibly moved to witness a precious language being sung back to life.