A Week of Australian Music – The Music of All Time

So now we’ve arrived at “the day”, the 26th of January. Australia Day .

For many Australians, it is a day to celebrate the country we were and are, for others it’s  just a day off work, and for others still it is a sombre reminder of the irrevocable effects British settlement had on the people and culture of Indigenous Australia¹.

Once again, for the most part I’ll refrain from including personal opinion here, except to say that today, I choose to acknowledge and honour that this country I call home, was a country long before those ships found its shores, with a rich, diverse, established culture – and music is a significant part of that culture.

While I think it’s essential to include in a series concerning the music of Australia, I regret to say that I don’t feel I know enough about it to attempt to inform as well as Aboriginal Art Online have with this fantastic page highlighting some of the most important and fascinating aspects of traditional Aboriginal music, which speaks of the use and inheritence of music as a living, evolving part of life. (What a wonderful gift that must be).

I highly recommend taking a few moments to read the above page and learning a little more about how music is utilised as a part of every day life, as a tool for communication, and  even as a measure of a man’s maturity.

The following track, composed and performed by Richard Walley, uses the didgeridoo as the sole instrument. The different sounds are achieved by various vocal techniques such as clicking and speaking, or simply a change in the position of the mouth and tongue to alter the pitch or tone, while keeping the drone sound constant (most effective when utilising circular breathing). Which makes the didgeridoo fairly unique in that it can be a wind and rhythm instrument simultaneously.


The next clip is a track called Hope by Yothu Yindi², who combine traditional Aboriginal music with modern pop and rock. (Great lyrics, which can be read here).


I’ll now be taking a few days break before resuming regular posting activity. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from anyone with examples of artists or songs they feel represent their country in some way – any way.



1. Australia Day is commonly referred to by Indigenous Australians as Invasion Day.

2. Yothu Yindi is Yolngu for child and mother.




About Satellite for Entropy

My thoughts are fish, all swimming about and prone to scattering swiftly. Some of them are pretty but not all of them are gold. Some have teeth; some travel in gangs and with a single school of thought; some are haphazard loners, darting about the place randomly and to no obvious purpose. But they're all slippery little suckers. Sometimes, I get lucky and find myself with a good grasp on one, long enough to remember what it looks like before releasing it back into the wild. View all posts by Satellite for Entropy

5 responses to “A Week of Australian Music – The Music of All Time

  • Rob

    Much as I’ve enjoyed your Australian week and have learned a lot I’m afraid I’ve ultimately been left disappointed due to a horrendous oversight…

    An Australian week with no Stefan Dennis!! Tsk

  • Rob

    Oh yeah – and Angry Anderson

  • Rob

    Nooooo! Not the hair! And the pink car! So wrong.

    You did ask for artist or songs that represent our countries in some way which I ignored so I’ll answer that now…
    I’ve chosen 2 not because they’re my favourite songs (I haven’t listened to either for ages) but because when I think about England, or more specifically the north of England I picture myself walking down suburban streets in the wee hours with nobody else around and a dull orange glow of the streetlights and a feeling that in some way you’re the last person left on earth. Both songs are Mancunian and both have a sort of melancholy/uplifting contrast with the minor chord verses and the subtly anthemic choruses. Anyway, I’ll stop rambling and post the links. These songs mean northern England to me..

  • Satellite for Entropy

    Two great songs – especially like that Smiths one. These are kinda recent for me, just because they’re part of my ‘catch-up’ on music I missed (read: ignored) the first time around, now I have awesome imagery to associate with them.

    (PS Thanks for using the word Mancunian, I heard that uttered in the banter of a live CD I was listening to –“I’m doing a Mancunian thing here”– and had no idea what it meant. Rather than look it up, I decided to assume it was some kind of reference to a political plot… o_O Probably because it’s so close to Manchurian -> Manchurian Candidate -> political thriller. The weird, subtle, automatic word association that happens when I forget that I can google stuff!

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