Songs for Aboriginal Studies and Reconciliation

This book and CD are suitable for kindergarten through to adults. You do not have to be a music teacher, or able to sing, to use this resource. There are 17 songs with lyrics, guitar chords (piano scores also available), melody line and lots of colour photos as well as contextual teaching ideas. The songs may be uploaded onto each school's system for ease of playing in the classroom in the absence of CD players. The cultural context of each song is as important as each song  Download the order form here.

The resource includes reference to Aboriginal Dreaming or Creation/Law stories, most from the Adnyamathanha people of SA’s Flinders Ranges but also Kaurna (Adelaide), Nharangga (Yorke Peninsula), Ramindjeri (Victor Harbor), Boandik (Lower SE). If you think ‘Oh those stories can’t be true’ Buck would say ‘Is what you learn from the story true?’

Some songs are sung by Buck, an Adnyamathanha man from the Flinders Ranges in South Australia and who worked for many years in the SA Department for Education writing songs and helping to implement Aboriginal Studies in schools. Some of the songs are sung by the Choir of the South Australian Public Primary Schools 'Festival of Music' and other students. Some songs are about Reconciliation, some tell Dreaming stories, some about feelings and some for fun.

A complete listing of each song's backing tracks and piano scores can be found here.

The seventeen mesmerizing songs written by Buck McKenzie in this splendid compilation are a celebration of urban and rural Aboriginal life and culture.

Each song has a tune which inspires singers, and many - such as Idnya the Native Cat and Magpie, Crow, and Eagle - carry stories filled with humour and linked to the Dreaming.

The delicious lyrics roll off the tongue, are quirky and illustrative, and yet contain a sense of home and belonging. The songs actually get under your skin, and you can’t help but sing them again and again!

This CD and accompanying song book is a welcome addition to the Aboriginal musical repertoire for primary and secondary children. Its beauty of tone, with accompanying acoustic guitar and piano, support its authenticity.

It is a delight to listen to, sing along with, and offers choral opportunities that will inspire as well as challenge.

Penny Kazimierczak, Music Educator,
Department for Education, South Australia

Additional Resources

Adnyamathanha_people_book_thumbnail.jpgThe Adnyamathanha people: Aboriginal people of the Northern Flinders Range

A book for teachers and secondary school students that covers the culture and history of Adnyamathanha people and includes many suggestions for teaching activities as well as maps and black and white illustrations. Now out of print but available from various libraries.

Mayaka_image.jpgAdnyamathanha food and medicine plants

The young seeds and pod of the 'mayaka' creeper are edible, being a bit like green peas. The flower is also edible. The tuber and older fruit are edible when baked for a while in hot ashes. See pictures and descriptions of other plant foods and medicines in Adnyamathanha plant uses (pdf, 29 slide presentation, 3.9mb).

Terry Bradford, a friend of Buck McKenzie, has written a song 'McKenzie Highway' dedicated to Buck. It is performed by his band, the Texettes.

Songbook and CD Order form and Learning Programs

Simply download the order form and follow the instructions.

Learning Programs developed by classroom teachers that link learning to Australian Curriculum HASS and more

Pretending to be an emu is such fun

Pretending to be an emu, a dance action for the fun song 'Oh My Warla' (belly) which is about being hungry and thinking about traditional bush foods but settling for a pizza instead.