Living in a Marsupial World
 
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Woodford, QLD 

Before we left the Sunshine Coast a few weeks ago, the four of us were able to spend a day at Australia's Dreaming Festival, a celebration of indigenous culture. The experience was all-in-all quite spectacular, although we would've loved to have spent the full 4 days camping on site. We had initially been under the impression that the event focused on Aboriginal culture, but we soon found out it was a festival for all indigenous culture of the world - from the local Aboriginals to the Native Americans of Canada.
 
We were lucky enough to wander into the film tent at just the right time, where we saw a fantastic film called Bran Nue Dae. It follows a young Aboriginal man from Broome in Western Australia as he tries to find his place in the world and of course, get the girl. The whole film is incredibly well done, has some fantastic music and some surprising cameos. Very funny, sweet, charming, and eye-opening and if you can find it in the states definitely see it!!

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The Dreaming played host to arts and crafts vendors, art galleries, workshops, theater, and song and dance performances. They had a carve-your-own didgeridoo tent and a didge playing workshop which were both, per tradition, men-only. Unfortunately Devin and Ben both missed the sign-up cutoff for the workshop. Emily and I did sign up for a hoop dancing workshop but soon realized when we walked up that all the other participants were no older than 12. Devin took a Poi class and found himself in a similar situation, but manned up and held his own amongst the kiddies. 

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We were really blown away by all the performance artists we encountered. Oka, Digging Roots, and Rhombus were all awesome bands on the big stage and were a blast to dance the night away to. After we finished dinner (sampling from Jamaican and traditional Mayan themed tents), we wandered down the rows of shops and stopped at a tent selling African drums. Ben immediately jumped in and started playing with two other incredible drummers and all of a sudden he was a part of one of the best impromptu drum jams I've ever heard. Several other people joined in on the drumming and almost instantaneously there were 50+ people/hippies gathered dancing and appreciating the music. Truly an awesome thing to experience. 

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Towards the end of the night we saw an awesome performance by a group from the Solomon Islands called The Narasirato Pan Pipers. Imagine a normal-sized pan pipe, then multiply all of its dimensions by about 10 and that's the size of the pan pipes these guys were playing. One of the most high-energy performances we've ever seen.

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Lastly, but certainly not least, we saw the incredible Constantina Bush & the Bushettes! Constantina, AKA Kamahi Djordon King, is an aboriginal drag queen performer hailing from the Gurindji tribe of the Northern Territory. Towering at about 6' 3" with the physique of a rugby player and a sequined cocktail dress put on a great show with her "Bushettes". I've never seen or heard better renditions of Beyonce's "Single Ladies," Miley Cyrus' "Party in the USA," or Britney Spears' "Oops I did it Again," than by Constantina. She was a great comedian too and provided some good stories and laughs in between songs. Her microphone unfortunately kept cutting out, but she kept telling the sound guy that he wasn't allowed to complain since she could easily "bash him."


7/9/2010

I must admit, I am in awe after reading your blog. What amazing and incredibly great experiences you are having! It is very much fun to read your updates and attempt to live vicariously. Looking forward to future episodes of your adventures! Love to all, mum.

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