PuSh Festival presents deeply moving Australian performance touring Canada for the first time: "dirtsong"

In the 150th year of a nation born from the displacement of its Indigenous peoples—dirtsong is more poignant than ever.

Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

See video
Australia's spectacular performance company Black Arm Band brings "dirtsong" to the PuSh Festival on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Photo and video courtesy Black Arm Band.

Performing in Canada for the first time ever, Australia's spectacular performance company Black Arm Band brings dirtsong to the PuSh Festival on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

“Those who lose dreaming are lost,” is an Aboriginal proverb that serves as a motto for Black Arm Band.

Specializing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander music and languages, they are a link to the past and a hope for liberation. Here they give a performance of uncommon power—fervent, intoxicating and deeply moving.

Against a backdrop of stunning documentary, the ensemble performs songs in a dozen languages, some now virtually extinct. There’s a strong narrative component as well, with five dramatic episodes based on the writings of Aboriginal author Alexis Wright.

dirtsong is so named for the connection between Indigenous peoples and the soil: bare feet against the earth is a perfect image for this defining bond, and it appears throughout the show.

The song list is the product of cultural research, several of the performers having gone back to ancestral lands to reclaim a violated culture and construct something new from the old.

With driving percussion, didgeridoo virtuosity, and some of the most soulful vocals you’ve ever heard, this show will bowl you over. Touring for the first time in Canada—in the 150th year of a nation born from the displacement of its Indigenous peoples

Make no mistake, this is music to send shudders down your spine and bring tears to your eyes.

dirtsong is more poignant than ever.

—The Age

Use promo code: OBSERVER and Receive $10 off Tier 1 tickets to dirtsong. Valid from January 11 to January 20, 5PM Limited time offer, subject to availabilty.

More in Culture

Vancouver filmmaker Brishkay Ahmed tackles technology and women’s rights in Pakistan with 'Unveiled: The Kohistan Video Scandal'

In 2012, in a remote village in Pakistan, a cellphone video featuring four young women singing and clapping with two boys goes viral. As it spreads, rumours swirl the girls have been killed, put to...

Youth learn to solve problems and think critically through summer art programs

Summer offers unique opportunities for middle and high school students to focus on something they are passionate about. For youth interested in visual arts or design, July and August can be spent...

"Cousins from afar"

PuSh finale: Australia's Black Arm Band brings aboriginal "Dirt Song" to QE
Speak up about this article on Facebook or Twitter. Do this by liking Vancouver Observer on Facebook or following us @Vanobserver on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.