Nurturing talent: ‘Kids need programs like this’

TALENT: Bega High School students Joven Pittman, Macy Canavan and Tayla Green-Aldridge after their recording session with Grow the Music program director Lizzy Rutten. Picture: Alasdair McDonald
TALENT: Bega High School students Joven Pittman, Macy Canavan and Tayla Green-Aldridge after their recording session with Grow the Music program director Lizzy Rutten. Picture: Alasdair McDonald

American singer, songwriter, actor and producer Lou Rawls once said music is the greatest form of communication in the world.

Since 2015, the Grow the Music project has mentored artists on the Far South Coast, and now one of their discoveries has himself become a mentor to the next generation.

Djiringanj rapper and producer Gabadoo visited Bega High School last week to work with students on the process of songwriting.

Impressed with the talent on display, he said the program should be held regularly at schools across the region.

It helps them connect with their culture.

Rapper and producer Gabadoo

”I reckon it’s important for them to know a bit about music and their culture,” he said.

“It helps them connect with their culture.

“Kids need programs like this to get them into it, because all Koori kids love music.”

After playing them some of his recordings, the students connected with his cultural messages, inspiring them to share their own personal stories.

“The things that start me off when writing my rhymes is love, pride and sharing my inspirations,” he said.

“I sing about things that have happened in my life that people can relate to it.

“I also sing about depression and anxiety, and it shows the young ones they’re not the only ones suffering from it.

“The kids really enjoyed it.”

Djiringanj rapper Gabadoo said the Grow the Music project has helped him perfect his live performances. Picture: Alasdair McDonald

Djiringanj rapper Gabadoo said the Grow the Music project has helped him perfect his live performances. Picture: Alasdair McDonald

He said without the help of the Grow the Music program, he wouldn’t be where he is today.

“I wouldn’t be gigging, I wouldn’t be where I am,” he said.

“They got me my first gig, and it was sick.

“Afterwards I was feeling so good about myself.”

The Grow the Music team have been holding workshops at Eden Marine High School and Bega High School over the last week, as students not only write and record a song, but also produce a music video.

Grow the Music program director Lizzy Rutten said she’s been impressed with the production and musical skills on display.

“It’s been magic,” she said.

“To write a song, record it and make a video in four days in pretty impressive.

“They really are proud to express who they are.”

The project has been supported by South East Arts, with the concert aspect growing in popularity with the wider community each year.

“We understand the importance of building on successful programs like Grow the Music in local Aboriginal communities, and not just leaving a void after new skills have been learnt with few avenues for further opportunities,” South East Arts general manager, Andrew Gray said about the project and it’s community concerts.

“On a broader level, the opportunity for sharing culture and wider community engagement is no better represented than by the community concerts at the end of each program.”

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