MSO and Australian Art Orchestra present


a Gathering for Orchestra, Improvising Soloists and Songmen



Paul Grabowsky director / piano
Daniel Ngukurr Boy Wilfred vocals and bilma (South East Arnhem Land)
David Yipininy Wilfred yidaki (South East Arnhem Land)
Members of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Australian Art Orchestra


Paul Grabowsky*, Daniel Ngukurr Boy Wilfred and David Yipininy Wilfred Wata: a Gathering for Manikay Performers, Improvising Soloists and Orchestra
*2021 MSO Composer in Residence

About the performance

Presented in collaboration with the Australian Art Orchestra

The power of music to connect all people has never been more present or important than in this powerful work by MSO’s 2021 Composer in Residence, Paul Grabowsky AO.

In the vast wilderness of northeastern Arnhem Land lies a sacred place called Nyilipidgi. It’s here the heart of the ancient culture of the Wagilak people is realised, through a tradition of shared songs which bind the community together, both reflecting on and creating a sense of identity, place and unity. These ceremonial song cycles are known as manikay.

One of Australia’s most respected musical figures, multi ARIA-award winning jazz composer and pianist Paul Grabowsky brings together David Yipininy Wilfred, the traditional djunggayi (manager) of manikay on the country of Nyilipidgi, and his brother Daniel Ngukurr Boy Wilfred for this powerful performance of Wata celebrating the world’s oldest living culture.

Paul Grabowsky writes:
Wata is an ancient Yolngu word which translates as ‘wind’ in its many different iterations, both literal and mythopoetic. It is part of manikay which tells of the beginnings and ends of things, of the naming of people and places, songs that in their very performance dissolve our linear time into a vast well, a model of a fully interconnected universe. Wata is also a purification ritual, a song of new beginnings, of release, of flight, and connection to land, ancestry and hope for the future”.

Duration: approx. 60 minutes with no interval

Program and artists subject to change

Please note: Hamer Hall information upon arrival

· Foyer bars will be closed until the vaccine is widely distributed
· No Food & Beverage, other than water will be permitted indoors
· Alcohol will initially only be served at outdoor bars and venues and other precinct restaurants
· No Cloak Room
· No Box Office sales or transactions, only available for trouble shooting or ticket collection
· Masks will be mandatory for Audience members at all times, regardless of restriction level
· Masks to be worn by performers at all times, however it is recognised and acknowledged that it will not always be possible for all performances and genre types to wear a mask during a performance

Back to What's On