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Wata: A Gathering for Songmen, Improvising Soloists and Orchestra

Town: Sydney

Address: , Sydney, 2000, NSW

Concert or Performance

In one of the most innovative and energising works for 2024, composer and pianist Paul Grabowsky brings the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Yolŋu songmen Daniel Ngukurr Boy Wilfred and David Yipininy Wilfred together in a work that celebrates the musical traditions of the Ngukurr people in Arnhem Land.

Wata means many things: it is a part of a ceremonial song cycle, part of the manikay (public song) tradition of the Ngukurr people. It is also a purification ritual, a song of new beginnings, of release, of flight, and connection to land, ancestry and hope for the future.

With complex patterns of yidaki and bilma forming the building blocks, musicians of the Sydney Symphony and guest improvising soloists weave in and out of the songs led by Daniel Wilfred and David Wilfred, guided by Grabowsky’s powerful orchestration.

Wata is an invitation to experience a new form of musical collaboration within the manikay tradition, inside the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall. It’s exciting, invigorating and spontaneous.




24-07-2024 to 24-07-2024