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Hand to Earth

How can art transcend boundaries – geographic, temporal, linguistic or cultural?

Hand to Earth is an exquisite performance in this year’s Darwin Festival, and features Yolŋu songman Daniel Wilfred and Korean vocalist Sunny Kim. Spanning continents and cultures, it demonstrates how to express a deeply human commonality.

Developed during an Australian Art Orchestra residency in Tasmania, Hand to Earth melds the differing, but equally breathtaking, vocal approaches of the two artists with ethereal electronic atmospheres created by trumpeter and composer, Peter Knight.

Singing in Wägilak language, Daniel Wilfred is the keeper of Yolŋu manikay (songs) from South East Arnhem Land that can be traced back for over 40,000 years. Sunny Kim sings in English and Korean. Together, they convey something of the elements, of the stars and fire, of cooling rain and running water.

“We singing about walking up to the water. We see the two – fresh water and the salt water – sitting together,” Wilfred says.

The manikay Wilfred shares with his artistic collaborators and audiences in this unique musical experience connects everything – country, culture and community – not just in the present but also in the past and the future.

“If you go up to my place … when we sing our manikay, you’ll see everybody. And the raki [rope] pull everybody together and you can see one big family. It’s still the same when I come up the stage. It’s still the same – I’m trying to make the new world. What can happen. Trying to bring you into a good world, where you can listen and understand.”

Add into the mix stirring performances by David Yipininy Wilfred on yidaki and Aviva Endean on clarinet, and you have a musical experience that is timeless, hypnotic and utterly mesmerising.

An effortless blend of contemporary and ancient musical traditions, Hand to Earth is one moving performance you don’t want to miss.

Hand to Earth
COST $38 | $34 CONC | $32 FRIENDS

Header and thumbnail – Sunny Kim, Peter Knight & Daniel Wilfred. Photo: Sung Hyun Sohn

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