The Cobargo Folk Festival (CFF), held in the beautiful village of Cobargo on the Far South Coast 26-28 February, continues to build its strong links with local and national Aboriginal musical talent, with a special program honouring Yuin elder Aunty Eileen Morgan. The Festival is run by the Yuin Folk Club.
When the club was established in 1995, Aunty Eileen, who died in 2011, and other Yuin elders gave them permission to use the Yuin name and donated the painting for the club logo. Performances by Yuin musicians, dancers and singers are an integral element of the Festival.
South East Arts’ Aboriginal Creative & Cultural Engagement Officer, Jazz Williams is the Aboriginal Program Coordinator for the Festival this year.
“The Cobargo Folk Festival has always provided an opportunity for local artists to hone their craft and importantly, offers a unique environment for Yuin musicians and dancers to express their talent and culture. CFF is invested in the longevity of Aboriginal arts in the region,” said Ms Williams.
As well as a welcome to country by a Yuin elder, the annual Aunty Eileen Morgan Memorial Concert honours her life and work.
This year’s concert features Bermagui band, Funks of Fusion, a recently formed hybrid of funk, hip hop and jazz featuring Warren Foster Snr & Jnr leading a band of local musicians including Russell Cook and Tom Roberts from Melbourne band, Bachelors from Prague.
‘I’ve done a lot of dancing at the festival from the beginning with the Gulaga Dancers and I’ve seen how it’s grown, especially with the Aunty Eillen memorial stage in respect of one of our elders who helped with the festival in the early days,” said Warren Foster.
“It’s a good festival for emerging artists who want exposure, like our new band. Come check us out.”
The concert also features Nowra singer-songwriter, Joel Deaves, whose songs and strong, emotive voice will ensure him a place on the Australian music scene for years to come.
The Djaadjawan Dancers, who will also perform, continue to go from strength to strength, having recently placed third in the inaugural Dance Rites competition at the Opera House, which celebrates Aboriginal dance culture across Australia and the Torres Strait. Led by Sharon Mason, the Djaadjawan Dancers consist of Yuin women from ages six to sixty.
This year, the Festival was successful in obtaining a Regional Arts NSW Country Arts Support Program Grant to engage acclaimed Australian songman, Neil Murray, to work with local Aboriginal musicians.
Last month, Neil ran a three-day workshop which focused on Dhurga (Yuin) language retrieval, with the aim of using language to develop songwriting and performance skills. A second workshop and rehearsal will be held on Friday 26 February during the Festival, to prepare for a performance at the Auntie Eileen Memorial Concert.
The Festival is also pleased to welcome Guy Ghouse and Damien Watkiss from Western Australia, who are performing as Desert Child.