Singing the landscape: "Bran Nue Dae"
Makeham, Paul B. (1996) Singing the landscape: "Bran Nue Dae". Australasian Drama Studies, pp. 117-132.
Ever since they were first encountered by Europeans, Australia's indigenous peoples have been objectified and misrepresented within an essentialist white discourse of 'Aboriginalism'. It is important to recognise, however, that Aboriginality is not, and has never been, a singular, fixed and empirically knowable thing; rather, Aborigines have always been the bearers and producers of diverse and highly adaptable cultures. The musical drama Bran Nue Dae, written by Jimmy Chi and the band Kuckles, celebrates this cultural diversity, but also the sense of racial solidarity which characterises contemporary Aboriginality. In so doing, the play also celebrates Aboriginal survival of and resistance to the continuing oppression of blacks by state institutions, financial interests and broad sections of the public. And while Bran Nue Dae certainly alludes to the past, to the forces of history and tradition, it marshalls these forces as ways of working towards new beginnings, towards a 'bran nue dae' in the continuum of Aboriginal culture and history.
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