Grayson Rotumah's ‘Spiritual Sound Picture’ of First Nations History

Grayson Rotumah’s new work ‘Creation’ was premiered by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra on 14 July, bringing ancient and modern cultures together in a celebration of Bundjalung history, through dance, song and atmospheric orchestral interludes.

Grayson describes his new work as being deeply rooted in the story of the Three Brothers, the creation story of Bundjalung land, which stretches from Northern New South Wales to South-East Queensland. It follows three brothers, their wives and their mother coming from the ocean and arriving on the land during a storm.

“I wanted to make it sound like this is a true representation of that story from my perspective, through my cultural lens,” he says. “When Creation is performed, I will definitely feel like this is about me.”

The project brought together a number of Elder Conservatorium staff and alumni, with Luke Harrald and Connor Fogarty supporting the orchestration, and the premiere conducted by Luke Dollman, with the orchestra led by Liz Layton.

The premiere also featured Grayson’s co-director at the Centre of Aboriginal Studies in Music, Dylan Crismani, performing on an original instrument - the electric cristal.

The groundbreaking performance received a great deal of media attention, and a five-star review from Limelight magazine, describing it as ‘a most significant contribution to music and musical performance that should provide a platform for further collaborative development and intercultural understanding.’


Creation' performers Janet Anderson (violin), Dylan Crismani (electric cristal), Robert Taylor (yidaki), Rulla Kelly-Mansell (vocals) and Grayson Rotumah (guitar). Photo: Matt Turner / supplied

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