Skip to main content

Australia: Aboriginal Music

Various Artists
Australia: Aboriginal Music

It is thought that the indigenous peoples of Australia (Aborigines) have inhabited the varying terrains of the continent for more than 40,000 years. Although only three percent of Australia’s population (as of 2013), the first Australians belong to more than four hundred distinct tribal groups and speak over two hundred languages.

Aboriginal music is essentially vocal music and mainly the prerogative of men, although women may provide vocal support in some ceremonies. Music is primarily sung during ceremonial rites of passage and funeral rituals. Singers may occasionally be accompanied by the droning rhythmic patterns of the didjeridu (didgeridoo), a long, tubular wind instrument usually made from eucalyptus wood, or by sticks.

The album includes ten songs—Rain Dreaming songs, clan songs, dance songs, and women’s songs—in nine languages. The liner notes present detailed information about regional variations in the music and about each selection.

Please enjoy a free download of the song “Rain-making Song”

Rain-making SongMP3 FLAC

This album is part of the UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music. More than 125 albums are being released by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings to make the series publicly available, including a dozen never-released albums of musical traditions from around the globe.

Track Listing

icon-circle-play svg-new-pause-button
Rain Dreaming (ngapa) ceremony (excerpts) n/a 10:54
icon-circle-play svg-new-pause-button
A re-singing of Rain Dreaming songs after the ceremony Dinny Djalbaldjari 3:11
icon-circle-play svg-new-pause-button
Rain-making song (excerpt from a series) Bill Anda Nunggulmarra 1:01
icon-circle-play svg-new-pause-button
Balgan songs (selected items) Wadi Ngyerdu 6:13
icon-circle-play svg-new-pause-button
Djabi song: The Windmill Of Wallanie Plains Andy 0:48
icon-circle-play svg-new-pause-button
Wongga dance songs (selected items) Tommy Barandjak, Harry Ferguson 6:33
icon-circle-play svg-new-pause-button
Brolga bird clan songs Dabulu, Magurn, and party 4:08
icon-circle-play svg-new-pause-button
Women's Wu-ungka songs Utekn, Yuimuk 2:04
icon-circle-play svg-new-pause-button
Morning Star, Pigeon, and Rain songs n/a 3:07
icon-circle-play svg-new-pause-button
Stingray, Dolphin, Curlew, and Shark songs Warnungamadada clan, Warnindilyagwa clan 6:29