Saturday, May 23, 2009

Walkabout & Songlines

Walkabout refer to a rite of passage where Australian Aborigines would undergo a journey during adolescence and live in the wilderness for a period as long as six months. In this practice they would trace the paths, or "songlines", that their people's ceremonial ancestors took, and imitate, in a fashion, their heroic deeds.

Songlines, also called Dreaming tracks by Indigenous Australians, are an ancient cultural concept, meme and motif perpetuated through oral lore and singing and other storytelling modalities such as dance and painting. Songlines are an intricate series of song cycles that identify landmarks and subtle tracking mechanisms for navigation. For the Aborigines all land is sacred and alive. Their ancestors gave life in singing, gave them life through song, and dwell in the land still. The songs must be continually sung to keep the land "alive". In singing they preserve the land/story/dreaming of their ancestors, and recreate it in their oneness of past, present and future.

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