Waltja Tjutangku Palyapayi

'Doing Good Work with Families'

Desert Song Festival is held in Alice Springs every September. It brings together choir groups from all around Central Australia.

Desert Song Festival 2014 began at the Festival Opening Night in the courtyard of the Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame.  Other big events in the Festival included ‘Desert Voice’ at the Araluen Performing Arts Centre, ‘Sacred Song’ at the Flynn Church lawns and ‘A cappella in the Gorge’ at Ormiston Gorge.

Local big choir Asante Sana and Aboriginal Community choir groups from Areyonga, Titjikala, Hermannsburg, Docker River, Mutitjulu and Alice Springs performed together. Many of Waltja’s Committee members sing in their community’s choir group and are involved in the Desert Song Festival every year.

The theme for this years Desert Song Festival was “Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness”. The choirs sang songs to celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela who struggled all his life for justice for African people.

Sandra Windy said “Palya! Areyonga ladies enjoyed singing with ladies from other communities and singing with other choirs like Asante Sana. We enjoyed learning from Morris. It was fun to all sing together”.

In August the Aboriginal Community Choirs met up with the world famous Soweto Gospel Choir and sang with them at concerts in Alice Springs and in Darwin. The choirs first met in 2011, they sang together and the Soweto Gospel Choir visited Areyonga and everyone made friends. This year Soweto Gospel Choir invited the Aboriginal Community choirs to come to Darwin as their support act, and they even donated money to help pay the airfares! Waltja is proud to see women leaders from Central Australia making friends with African leaders, and making such great music together.