Noongar song in spotlight

Edith Cowan University associate professor Clint Bracknell
Edith Cowan University associate professor Clint Bracknell

Noongar language and song traditions in the South West may soon be revitalised thanks to a new study focusing on the power of Aboriginal on-country performance.

Edith Cowan University associate professor Clint Bracknell was awarded an Australian Research Council grant for this research project called Restoring on-Country Performance: Noongar song, language and landscapes.

Professor Bracknell said his research would significantly contribute to social cohesion and wellbeing in the Aboriginal and broader Australian community, while exploring concepts of interdependence between community and landscape.

"Aboriginal performance traditions are central to social cohesion, wellbeing and knowledge of Country and offer new ways for all Australians to understand and interact with our fragile yet dynamic environment," he said.

"However, because Aboriginal performance traditions are primarily sung, it's concerning that just 13 out of more than 200 Aboriginal languages have fluent speakers across all generations."

In the South West more than 30,000 people identify as Noongar, however less than 2 per cent of Noongar people identify as speaking their own language according to the Australian Census data.