Carra Barra Wirra Canna (2010)
Stereo sound loop to be played back in an intimate space.
Carra Barra Wirra Canna is derived from an Australian lullaby of the same name.
The original song was written in 1965, a time nearing the end of a over century during which Aboriginal children were forcibly removed from their homes to become assimilated into ‘white’ Australian culture “for their own good”. These children are referred to as the Stolen Generations.
Scored in the key signature of E-flat, the song contains three ‘flat notes’, represented on the piano keyboard as black keys. In this adaptation, the melody is played with the flats removed – the ‘black keys’ are played as ‘white keys’ - transforming the sweet and ‘innocent’ melody into one filled with melancholy and unresolved tension. The ‘neutralized’ notes haunt the tune with the memory and effect of historical injustice, bringing the emotional reality to the forefront. Maintaining the simplicity and meditative quality of a lullaby, the tune is played on a Kalimba, a modernized thumb piano. Resonance recorded from the tones of the original ‘black notes’ is layered in the background enhancing the song’s tension.