The Bangarra sound is as distinctive as its dance technique; forged from over 40,000 years of culture and embodied with contemporary expression. It’s a sound that is completely new but also ancient, combining traditional language, song and instrumentation with the sounds of electronica, hip-hop, classical and nature. It gives voice to Country and to land and has the rare ability to awaken emotions from deep within.
Bangarra’s Music Director David Page was the architect of that unmistakable sound. He has left an incredible musical legacy that, combined with his generous mentorship of other artists, Bangarra will draw and build on for the future.
His score for Macq was created in 2013 as part of Dance Clan 3 in our Bangarra studios. Choreographer Jasmin Sheppard worked closely with him during this process. “David was adamant that his music, although it portrayed the raw devastation of this event, would also give hope to the dancers whilst they performed it,” explains Sheppard. “His deep understanding of how music moves us, and lifts us dancers to greater heights, was prevalent in all his work.”
Although most of Macq was composed by David in 2013, his artistic nature drove him to challenge the score upon its restaging. In learning more about the events of the 1816 massacre, two new sections were created, as well as enriching the existing ones.
“We recently recorded all the women singing a D’harawal mourning song; Aunty Frances Bodkin told us that it was the women who were by the cliffside who tended the bodies of the men in their camps first - they were discovered and moved upon shortly after. David’s instinct was to record the women as though they were emerging from a sandstone shelter, and to make their voices cavernous and echoed,” recalls Sheppard.
“It wasn’t until I was taken to the site by Aunty Frances that I heard my own voice in a similar way, knocking off the sandstone cliffs and reverberating in my own ears. He was truly instinctual and a man of story. He manipulated sounds to draw out certain emotions.”