Bangarra: 30 years of sixty five thousand

David Page: 30 Years of Sixty Five Thousand

  • Music, Stories, Songs & Language, Behind the Scenes

Bangarra’s dearly missed songman David Page created the scores for four of the works in Bangarra: 30 years of sixty five thousand. These are his words, about his creative process and inspirations, written at the time that each work premiered

UNAIPON — 2004

“It is always a wonderful challenge creating new music for Bangarra — to bring new ideas but maintain that Bangarra essence. Working on Unaipon with Frances Rings allowed me to challenge the music and sound design and helped take the dance to another level. Frances is very inspiring and gives you the creative freedom to experiment, but she is also clever enough to remind you of the importance of a simple approach in delivering the right message. David Unaipon’s life was very full and very complex. It would take an 8-part documentary to tell his whole life story. Just to reflect his inspiration and his legacy through the medium of dance and music was hard enough. There is so much information about this incredible inventor, philosopher, writer and storyteller. I am very privileged to be part of this artistic project that continues to honour and respect such a spiritual and extraordinary Aboriginal man.”


“I am privileged to have been challenged with the responsibility of how to pay appropriate respect and bring life musically to such a powerful story. After an intense research period by Stephen, he passed on to me many stories from Mathinna’s journey and allowed me to be free to draw on various music styles, which believe me, can be dangerous! I experimented with fusing my interpretation of eighteenth-century classical music, with different rhythms and sounds; from recording myself hitting rocks together in my Sydney studio to the elements of wind, water, voice and electronic synthesised instrumentation. Mathinna allowed me to explore and grow as an artist.”

ABOUT — 2011

“With About I was very excited to experiment with the Torres Strait Island musical elements and fuse them with contemporary sounds. I asked my old friend Steve Francis to collaborate musically with me once again. He brings a new and fresh, abstract feel to this unique dance work soundtrack. Working with language is so rewarding especially when this beautiful instrument is so easily accessible. Fusing this with original composition allows us to create something special. Inviting the Bangarra dancers and various singers to sing the language adds colour to this score. The language storytelling is the hook of the About soundtrack. The story concept is simple — it is about the winds. Complementing the dance musically can be very challenging: the music must support the dance not over-power it. These winds, featured in relation to the people that the story is about, are unpredictable but powerful as well.”

ID — 2011

“As the composer I was anxious to discover what this new work was going to be. ID is very clever and daring (like my brother) and who else could attempt to tackle such a subject? I never know how it will be until all the creative elements — the direction, the set, lighting, costumes, choreography and dancers — are finally on stage together; that’s when the magic begins. Being part of this creative team is that magic and if it is working on stage, that is when you know you have done well. Creating music for ID has been a real challenge. I experimented with different sound wave forms, vocals and languages to create something new. When exploring the subject ‘Identity’ you can’t help but reflect on your own experiences. I love my work because I have a passion for it. Being happy with who you are and where you come from is a major step in the right direction of accomplishing anything you put your mind to.”

- David Page

Being part of this creative team is that magic and if it is working on stage, that is when you know you have done well.