Remote Residency: Week 2

The second week of the Remote Residency saw Mark Cain and community participants get into some serious construction with

“drilling and bolting the thongophone pipes to the large welded metal frame. So many small and detailed jobs: cutting and grinding bolts and grinding weld points. Thongophone now just needs to be cleaned up and painted, but working really well and sounds great! We were join by a German anthropologist and sax player, Carsten today.

We had fun rehearsal this evening with David Ougham, his Brother In Law, Nicky and Thorman . David is such a surprising character and his playing and singing are both part of that surprise – he has a distinctive style. We’ll play together as a band for Thursdays special NAIDOC event in which Djarindjin elder, Bundy, will join us.

A group concept has taken shape in the form of a metal plinth that will allow different pitched gongs to be welded to arms extending out from a the central brace like tree branches. We used a wonderful tool called a “nibbler” to cut out these gong shapes from a large piece of sheet metal.

Most days we get a few visitors from the community who just sit and take in the activity in the workshop. The workshop seems to be attracting quite a lot of interest and word seems to be getting out that there’s musical and hands-on activity going on here.

Tuned up a few more aluminium chime tubes. I think we will suspend this set between steel poles fixed into concrete. Will also be making an aluminium  tube xylophone

During the NAIDOC Celebrations at the School I run a 20 min music session, starting with ways of make sound from shells, including rolling them between the hands and also making “flute” sounds, as taught to me by Djarindjin elder, Brian Lee, by blowing across the leading edge of the shell. Some shells are particularly resonant and different sizes enable different pitches.

The final part of the day (early evening on) was passed over to a community concert from a stage and white sea sand covered pitch area in front of the Djarindjin Store prepared the previous day. The Bidyandanga dancers performed once more with Mervyn Mulardy singing and playing boomerang percussion. I join the local Djarindjin band with David Ougham, Bundy, Nicky, Thorman and a drummer.

By the end of the week we are able to suspend the metalophone across the gateway entrance to test the tuning and how it might hang in situ. But the best thing is the sound – bright and resonant, like church bells.

Photographer Peter Strain has been on hand throughout catching activity as it happens.