Kronos Quartet wraps up 50 years of touring with Oz tour starting in Albany

Jacob Morgan-de LaineAlbany Advertiser
Kronos and Maatakitj will play the AEC on  March 1
Camera IconKronos and Maatakitj will play the AEC on March 1 Credit: Supplied

World-renowned musical rule breakers the Kronos Quartet will be wrapping up 50 years of performing and writing music with their 11th Australian tour kicking off in Albany with Maatakitj as part of the Perth Festival.

A hugely influential musical force, Kronos has given thousands of concerts, won three Grammys and many other awards as well as consistently collaborated with composers and artists from cultures across the world including Afghanistan, Iran and Inuit.

As part of the Australian tour beginning in Albany, they will collaborate with Noongar language composer, musician and activist Maatakitj (Dr Clint Bracknell).

Maatakitj, who grew up in Albany, is an eclectic Noongar song maker and awarded Australian theatre composer.

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Maatakitj (Dr Clint Bracknell)
Camera IconMaatakitj (Dr Clint Bracknell) Credit: Cole Baxter

Maatakitj has focused on Noongar language and song revitalisation, co-translating and composing for more than a decade.

His work includes critically lauded Noongar language theatre and film adaptations and a Noongar language electronic dance music album featuring ARIA-winning producer Paul Mac.

Producer and associated artist with the Perth Festival Bobbi Henry said this was the first time the festival had branched out this far.

“Perth Festival wanted to reach out to this community, our artistic director has roots here, so I think it was important for him to come here, plus Clint is an Albany lad.

“That is our way with mob, to reach out and come back to where you are from and plant yourself back into the ground.”

Maatakitj said he wanted to engage with the local community before bringing the pieces on to the stage.

“In all their (Kronos) years of touring, they have never done any engagement with indigenous people in Australia, he said.

“Because I’ve come up with new songs in Noongar language I felt like it was appropriate to make sure those songs were circulated in community first before being put up on stage as part of essentially a classical music concert.”

Maatakitj’s piece is named for the thunderstorm that often lashes the Albany coast.

“It’s inspired by a need to respond to the whole South West region being not only a biodiversity hotspot but also a global drying hot spot,” he said.

“So it starts off thunderstorm and it goes into that light rain that Albany is pretty well known for.

“The last bit is more fun, that’s inspired by an old comedy song that used to travel throughout the whole region about a kangaroo looking for shelter from the rain and having trouble finding it.

“That also speaks to the way that land’s been cleared more and more.

“As we get more sun and less rain there is a greater need for tree coverage and especially the kangaroos, they’re suffering because there is too much sun and not enough shelter for them.

“There are all these things that are going on country; if music is one way you can raise people’s attention hopefully that’s doing something useful. “

The Kronos Quartet and Maatakitj will be coming to the Albany Entertainment Centre on Wednesday, March 1.

Tickets can be found on the AEC website.

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