Exploring music from the soul to the screen in South Australia
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander listeners and readers are advised that this episode and its show notes may contains images, names, and voices of people who have died.
This is a very special episode if you enjoy music and “screens” in manifold ways.
Firstly, we chat with Director/Producer/Writer, Philippa Bateman, who’s just released a visually stunning and deeply moving documentary, Wash My Soul in the River’s Flow. It’s about two of Australia’s greatest songwriters, Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter, and was filmed here in South Australia in Hunter’s Ngarrindjeri country. I will follow that interview with a few snippets from a humble documentary I made in 2003 called, Sorry Proof Country, which featured Doris Pilkington, the late author of Follow The Rabbit Proof Fence.
In the Musical Pilgrimage, we feature the latest song from Kyan Burns – a singer songwriter from Gawler and SA Music Awards nominee, thanks to the radionotes podcast with John Murch. We were atttracted to it because the song lives on the “screen” through its vivacious video clip!
And for the SA Drink Of The Week, we blend wine with the screen. It’s an Eight At The Gate drop, which features in a Stan TV show based in Adelaide called, Wolf Like Me.
PS A reminder that Steve Davis and Ekkia Evans have been reviewing Fringe shows again this year. Read the Adelaide Fringe reviews here, throughout the Fringe.
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Running Sheet: Music from the soul to the screen
Introduction to the show.
00:03:28 SA Drink Of The Week
This week’s SA Drink Of The Week is a 2016 Eight At The Gate Shiraz Cabernet, as featured in this scene from Wolf Like Me. This TV show on Stan is set in South Australia.
In the scene, Isla Fischer is moving in on Josh Gad and supplies an “expensive” bottle of wine. Psst, it’s not really expensive but it is REALLY good.
00:04:55 Philippa Bateman
Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter would be considered by many to be two of Australia’s great songwriters. Their music has a depth and authority that aligns in my mind with the likes of BB King, Bessie Smith, and Miles Davis, while also having a unique honesty, sadness, and resiliance due to their lives as First Nations people deeply connected to the land we call Australia. In 2004, they performed with Paul Grabowsky and the 22-piece Australian Art Orchestra after a collaboration that created a special musical event, Kura Tungar — Songs from the River. The river in question is our beloved River Murray, which flows through the late Ruby Hunter’s Ngarrindjeri country, here in South Australia. Director/Producer/Writer, Philippa Bateman, has just released a truly awe-inspiring documentary that brings that event to life. It’s called Wash My Soul in the River’s Flow, and she joins us now.
Two of Australia's top #songwriters Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter feature in a new, stunning #documentary, Wash My Soul In The River's Flow, opening in cinema's tomorrow. Catch our chat with director, Philippa Bateman https://t.co/Ikn0hssFdQ This is must-see in the #cinema #music
— The Adelaide Show (@TheAdelaideShow) March 9, 2022
Philippa, firstly, congratulations. This is a stunning and moving documentary and one of the things that struck me was your courage and fortitude as a filmmaker in this era of fast-paced cuts where scenes are timed to the second, to give us passages of minutes in which we can dwell quietly with the beautiful footage of the Murraylands and Coorong. What was the creative reasoning behind this?
When was the seed planted for this documentary because if we’re talking about an almost 20-year project, then that puts you in the same league as Stanley Kubrick who was renowned for not rushing projects in his quest for perfection?
At the Adelaide Show, we put South Australian passion on centre stage, and aside from Archie and Ruby, the South Australian landscape has star billing in your documentary. Can you share some of your experiences in capturing Ngarrindjeri country on film – the river and the wildlife. I’d love to know if it spoke to you in some way and has affected you at all?
The documentary gives voice to Archie and Ruby’s retelling of their first hand experience of being among the Stolen Generations. It’s emblematic of this production; we see great love and great hurt and we also see river time juxtaposed against city time, especially when the song Down City Streets is performed. Can you describe the weight of the responsibility as a filmmaker in honouring these extremes while maintaining layers of nuance.
What are the musical highlights for you?
And what mindset would you suggest audiences adopt when they go to see this in cinemas?
We’ll have links in the show notes and, as my partner said while we were viewing the documentary – we must buy this, I’ll want to watch it again and again and again.
00:32:39 Sorry Proof Country
Exceprts from Sorry Proof Country documentary. This is a documentary I made in 2003, in response to the then government’s inability to say “sorry” in the wake of the Bringing Them Home Report into the stolen generations.
In this episode, we play three snippets from these guests:
- Doris Pilkington Garimura AM, author, Follow The Rabbit Proof Fence
- Brian Butler, former ATSIC Commissioner for SA
- Sir Ronald Wilson AC KBE CMG QC, Co-author, Bringing Them Home Report
And here is the documentary, which was uploaded at a time when YouTube had a 10-minute limit on videos, so it has been split into parts one, two, and three.
00:37:02 Musical Pilgrimage
In the musical pilgrimage, we have a song called Guess by Kyan Burns, pronounced (Kye-Ann).
We discovered this SA Music Awards nominee via the radionotes podcast with John Murch. Click through to hear his expansive and excellent interview with Kyan.
Thankfully, as a fellow South Australian podcaster, John generously lets us share snippets from his interviews, which we’ve done in this episode.
Here’s this week’s preview video
No preview video this week.
SFX: Throughout the podcast we use free SFX from freesfx.co.uk for the harp, the visa stamp, the silent movie music, the stylus, the radio signal SFX, the wine pouring and cork pulling SFX, and the swooshes around Siri.