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With Reconciliation Week upon us, Kincumber Neighbourhood Centre and Avoca Beach Picture Theatre have put their collective heads together for an astounding night of building bridges.

The evening begins with a ‘conversation’ with the fascinating Frank Doolan, known around the nation as Riverbank. He’s a Wiradjuri man from Dubbo in central western NSW. Disillusioned by racial separatism, he believes in building community bridges. You won’t find Riverbank complaining – you will find Riverbank working, talking, doing what he can, to mend this broken relationship.

Riverbank is a gifted poet, writer and philosopher. As a measure of Riverbank’s acclaim, in 2016 he was a VIP guest performer at Rodriguez's State Theatre concert, reciting two of his works – ‘The Message’, a piece about Reconciliation, and ‘I Am Just a Child’, a tribute to the children in detention.

Shunning materialism over the simple life, this Wiradjuri elder, living in a caravan a few kilometres north of Dubbo, beside the river, without electricity or any mod cons is a warrior for peace.

Riverbank doesn’t just talk Reconciliation he lives it and is a valuable speaker.

Following Riverbank, the powerful film of building bridges THE SONG KEEPERS, will screen. Across six remote communities spanning a thousand-kilometre radius, indigenous women gather to sing hymns originally brought to the area by German Lutheran missionaries, then translated into the Western Arrarnta and Pitjantjatjara languages. The songs had all but vanished from use in Germany, but had been preserved in the Central Australian desert for 140 years.

Hermannsburg has a rich musical tradition of Lutheran baroque hymns and anicent Aboriginal songs and story-telling. Both have been preserved and passed down generation to generation by the women of the area. Combing the hymns and their own languages, THE SONG KEEPERS is an uplifting and nuanced story of music, survival, identity and cross-cultural collaboration.

Choir conductor Morris Stuart said of one song “That is the oldest existing hymn of the Christian church. It was written in the fourth century in the Greek language, and it was revealed to me by the ladies from a remote community in central Australia.”

Naina Sen’s THE SONG KEEPER’S is a joyous ode to cross-cultural collaboration, its power and its importance, as the planet’s oldest culture helps to keep some of humanity’s oldest sacred songs alive. 

Experience the choir's delight in their chosen art form, having changed lives, preserved history, transported centuries-old tunes back to Europe and acted as a bridge between cultures.  A beautiful balance is attained between the music and a diverse compilation of observational and interview footage. The result is infectious!

Reconciliation Week is on at the Avoca Beach Picture Theatre on Friday 1st June at 7:30pm. Tickets are $18 and can be purchased via the Theatre’s website or by calling 43 821 777.



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