Arrkanala lyilhitjika (Western Arrernte for ‘the joy of singing’)
Many Waltja members love to sing. Members of local community choirs from Areyonga, Titjikala, Ntaria, Mutitjulu and Docker River have been coming together over the past few years to sing at events like the Desert Song Festival or Big Sing in the Desert. Last year they sang with the Soweto Gospel Choir from South Africa and this year they did a singing tour of Germany!
The combined choir is called the Central Australian Women’s Choir. The choir was invited by Mission Eine Welt of the Lutheran Church in Bavaria to tour and perform for three weeks, including at the Kichentag Festival, where they sang to over 100,000 people.
The choir sings in Pitjantjatjara, Western Arrernte and Pintupi-Luritja. Many years ago the songs were brought to this part of the country through the Lutheran Church. Taking these songs back to Germany with a special Central Australian sound and tradition is like completing a circle.
Pastor Rob Borgas from the Finke River Mission has worked with choir members, artistic director Morris Stuart and with many other people to turn this invitation into a reality.
A lot of money had to be raised for Arrkanala lyilhitjika project. Pastor Rob said, “Each choir member raised funds themselves and they reached over $15000, plus they were successful in an application to the Centrecorp Foundation which has been a great help. We also received contributions from church organisations and donors in Germany and in Australia. So we are very excited about this tour and thank everyone who has helped us so far.”
Waltja is proud that women leaders from Central Australia have shared their songs and stories overseas.