Created by the The Cat Empire’s Felix Riebl and Ollie McGill for the Cairns-based young Indigenous group Marliya, of Gondwana Choirs, the show features guest vocalists Briggs, Christine Anu, Felix Riebl and Ollie McGill.
In 2015 Felix Riebl, lead singer of The Cat Empire, took up residence in the Pilbara to spend time on the land and hear the stories of the Yindjibarndi community. Spinifex Gum is the result, a series of unique, topical and inspiring new songs that chart the dramatic contrasts of the land of the Pilbara as well as its political and social topography.
Developed in collaboration with Marliya – a choir of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teenage girls from Gondwana Choirs – and guest artists including Ollie McGill and Briggs, the songs are now a unique and inspiring concert, performed in its Australian premiere at Monash University by the full choir, Felix Riebl, Briggs and in a special Melbourne appearance, Christine Anu.
Spinifex Gum is a powerful song cycle that reflects on the dramatic contrasts of the Pilbara region of northern WA through new and unique choral music. It is a distinctly Australian experience – equal part provocative and uplifting, and intended to inspire national dialogue through music.
“an artistically stunning, thoughtful and evocative collection of songs that demand to be heard” The Music
“Riebl’s voice should be classified as a national treasure…” The AU Review
Directed by Felix Riebl
Assistant Director Ollie McGill
Conductor Lyn Williams OAM
Choreographer Deborah Brown
Lighting and Video Designer Mark Howett
Sound Designer Gideon Cozens
Songs by Felix Riebl
Beats and Arrangements by Ollie McGill, except Locked Up (F.Riebl / O.McGill / A.Briggs) and Make it Rain (T.A.Waits / K.Brennan)
Cultural Advisor Michael Woodley, CEO Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government’s Major Festivals Initiative in association with the Confederation of Australian International Arts Festivals Inc., Adelaide Festival, Sydney Festival and Monash Academy of Performing Arts.
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.
This project has been supported by the Ryan Cooper Family Foundation and receives funds from Creative Partnerships Australia through the Australia Cultural Fund.