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For Voices & Piano with Body Percussion

Words & Music by James Madsen
With assistance from staff and students of Neville Bonner Primary School 2013

Commissioned as a school song for Neville Bonner Primary School ACT


The song makes reference to a river, a natural symbol used in indigenous culture and art. Neville Bonner is said to have been born on an island on a river in northern New South Wales and then had an inspiring life journey to become the first Aboriginal senator of Australia's Federal Parliament.


The chorus of the song uses Ngunnawal language, a traditional language of the area

and surrounding country on which Canberra was built and on which the school was built. 

Murranga - Hand

Gadi - search for knowledge

Yunggaballi - sing

The idea of using these words is that learing involves the three connected aspects of the body, mind and spirit.


The vocal part can be sung in unison but also has a simple option for adding harmony. The body percussion should also become part of the performance in telling the story of the connection of the body, mind and spirit.

Yunggaballi (Unison) 100x

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