First songs: announcing the voices of the First Nations

“However, I hope listeners will continue to guess who is playing the role of parent to our children. These lullabies give our children an uneasy rest on the bed of black plagues in detention, land rights, generations stolen and unceded sovereignty.

Amelia Thompson, a final year student, stepped out of her usual context as a contemporary music singer to perform in front of a small orchestra of classical performance students from Con.

Thompson lends her voice to two of Troy Russell’s songs in a generous intergenerational gesture and addresses issues of identity and connection in her own work. “My songs are about what it’s like to be a young Indigenous person today.” She comments on one of her songs, in the context of trying to figure out how her generation fits in and appears – ‘Still Tea ‘: “no matter how much milk you put in the tea, it’s still tea.

The First Nations artists featured collaborated with Composition for Creative Industries Diploma students who helped orchestrate the music for the large ensemble. Project Director Damien Ricketson says, “In creating space for new First Nations music to flourish, we have also opened space for different musical specializations at Con to interact and support each other. It is an honor to present this all-First Nations program at a site that has witnessed the creation of music and culture for millennia before us.

First songs

7 p.m., Game 3rd November, Music Workshop, Sydney Conservatorium of Music


Troy Russel- The first shot

Troy Russel- You do not know

Troy Russel- Nucoorilma

Troy Russel- Singing

Nardi Simpson – Lullabies for Babies Blak

Nardi Simpson – Binary

Amelia Thompson – more tea

Amelia Thompson – Take me Home

Project Director – Damien Ricketson

Conductor – George Ellis

Arrangements & orchestrations – Tim Doubinski & Harry O’Brien

Classical voice – Ines Paxton

Contemporary Voice – Amelia Thompson