It’s a very great honour this year to be hosting two interstate choirs at our Festival. The Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir and Poco Tutti. The Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir comes to us as holders of the oldest culture, in the heart of our land; and yet are also a choir who have joyfully adopted a new type of song, brought to them some generations ago from a new land. They are a beautiful example of how song, and shared voice, can travel the world, without boundaries.
Poco Tutti, the choir of ‘everyone’, offer us a fine example of a way to celebrate the possibilities for true inclusivity. Something magical happens when voices come together; something is born beyond our narrow ideas of ‘you’ or ‘I’. A moment of direct, palpable, ‘we’ emerges. But within this shared voice, it is necessary to ensure that the many, diverse voices are clearly heard.
Voices have beauty. They have passion. They carry messages and speak of the sacred, the old and the new. They tell of this land, or that, of this Country, or that journey of this traveler or that incident. They remind us of what is important, and of what we need to pay more attention to, what we have perhaps been forgetting. Voices also have power.
This year’s Festival touches the idea of ‘voices from the edges’ – voices less often heard. We believe it is critical to our collective visioning, wellbeing and forward movement to hear these voices.
At the heart of the Denmark Festival of Voice is the sound of massed voices – or ‘choirs’, and we have a record 18 choirs this year, along with a host of smaller ensembles, trios, duos and soloists. Some have brought instruments into their song and some remain true to only the sound of their voice.
Humans are story-tellers and in the Mongolian story-telling tent will be tales from countries afar and near, tales of social justice, of faith, tales both old and new, of land, of faerie, and of people.
You will hear voices young and old, from our community and from shores afar. Voices of the first people of this land, and voices of those newly arrived, but who themselves come from cultures with old traditions, old songs. We have explorers: reaching beyond the edges of convention, and those who are firmly and happily in the centre of tradition. All are welcome to come warm their voices and hearts at our campfire.
This year we travel beyond the human, as custodians taking responsibility for this beautiful and fragile world, bearing witness to the voices of endangered animals.
A warm hooray to the funding bodies, without whom the Festival would not be realized. These organizations stand in the corner of the arts, the corner of communities. We thank each and every one of them.
I’d like to give my hearty thanks to the 2016 DFoV team: Matt Andrews, Tim Maisey, Kira Schimmelpfennig, Jennie Newman and Dorothy Redreau. A deep bow of thanks also to the dedicated board of Denmark Arts: Janine McCrum, Nigel Levinson, Sandra Knight, Stephanie Tchan and Ian Osborne.
And finally to the fabulous production team, volunteers, audiences, musicians, singer-songwriters, poets, speakers, choirs and choir directors. All of us from Denmark Arts, and the Denmark Festival of Voice heartily welcome you and hope you have a rich, fulfilling and inspiring Festival in our home.
As Michael Leunig says:
“We give praise to all those who give some small voice
To the everyday joy of the soul.”
Vivienne Robertson, Festival Director