The inaugural Australian Women in Music conference and awards kicked off yesterday to dive into pathways for music makers, new and emerging digital platforms, the role of music as a cultural, social and political songbook, a film screening, photographic exhibition and a keynote by none other than Kate Ceberano.

Check out our wrap-up of Day One below:

Forum One: Singing Our Stories, Our Place

Kicking off Day One of the Australian Women in Music festivities was a forum on how three Australian Indigenous artists Shellie Morris, Ancestress, and Emily Wurramara have explored their stories and heritage. 

The discussion kicked off with artist Shellie Morris talking about learning her native language and other tribe’s languages through the practice of song writing. Shellie talked about at one point earlier in her life not being able to pronounce some of the words in her language due to the complexity, but said she could sing the words and learned them through song.

It was also mentioned that Emily’s native language where she’s from (Groote Eylandt) is considered the second hardest language in the world. That should give some indication of how important it is to keep these native languages alive through song.

When asked about her experience in the industry as an indigenous woman, Shellie recalled being stared at for “rocking up with 100 kilograms of instruments to a pub because no one did that”.