The Way it was Before
This composition is the opening segment of my musical suite based upon the GunaiKurnai dreaming story, the Creation of Waratah Bay.
This is the song of the Lyrebird Woorayil, the teacher who sings to all of us the stories so we do not forget and learn.
It is the creation era, a time where all the animals spoke the same language and there were no wars nor hate.
I discovered it by chance.
I was cruising around Gippsland, Victoria, Australia, on a hot summer day and I saw a mountain surrounded by a cloud of mist. I instantly felt the urge to drive into it and as I emerged from the mist I was greeted by an ancient rainforest, the Tarra Bulga National Park.
I felt time stopping, I saw the past as the present and was overwhelmed by the need to walk its trails and glide underneath the canopy of its thick covering of ancient fern trees.
I heard the lyrebirds sing very loud as if they were reminding me of the song of the lyrebird to be learnt.
I wonder what attracts me so much to these temples of nature. There are not many people in the bush and if I see them they generally are quick walkers. I like to take my time and walk at a pace where I have time to see life grow.
I walk so slowly that even snakes end up being startled. But up until now, maybe because I walk slowly they don’t see me as a threat , but rather when I am close they slowly crawl away.
One day I climbed a small track in the Tarra Bulga National Park (joint managed by the GunaiKurnai people) and when I got to the top I felt the need to stop and drink some water. I looked down and there was a snake at my feet. I knew that death is only one step away but at the same time my thirst saved me from a possible deadly encounter.
I believe in the magic of the bush and feel protected in it as long as I walk slowly and listen. If I am too tired I wait, it’s too hot I wait, if it is too windy I wait and generally the bush responds by welcoming me.
During covid lockdown in Melbourne I felt the urge to bring this refreshing land into peoples homes. So I applied for a Creative Victoria Arts Grant to perform live music from the Tarra Bulga National Park to bring a breath of fresh air into the homes and hearts of all those who were in solitude and needed to feel the refreshing life of nature.
As I had walked through its trails I knew there was more to understand than what I simply could see and felt the urge to ask the Custodians and owners of this land for guidance.
I called the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation and explained that I wanted to compose music that reflected the beauty of this land and live stream the performance from its bush into the homes of all those in lockdown.
The Elders guided me and introduced me to the GunaiKurnai Custodian and story teller Wayne Thorpe.
The Creative Arts Victoria grant now awarded me the recognition of essential worker and I was able to bypass the police barricades and leave the city as I had a job to do which in essence was to sit underneath a tree and play the guitar. I love this country.
I drove down to Lakes Entrance and met up with Uncle Wayne. We sat on the river bank for many hours talking about mother nature, music and the Aboriginal Lore.
He felt that the best way to describe Tarra Bulga National park was to tell its creation story and I would compose music that would create a musical theme. We decided to write a song for the Corroboree of the story.
This first segment is what I hear and feel whenever the lyrebird sings in the bush . I can just imagine it many thousands of years ago waking up every morning and singing the song of the lyrebird to all the creatures of the bush.
Now due to the lock down conditions we were never able to perform the story and music together so I had to perform alone and my audience would have to be the Bush Spirits as they are they true listeners of the story.