Set on the fields at Leconfield and Richard Hamilton Winery in McLaren Vale, you arrive and shortly the sun begins to set on this stunning part of the world. Surrounded by vineyards and green landscapes, this is the perfect setting to settle in for a picnic and watch on as the sky turns dark, the moon rises and a swift soundtrack of Indigenous music and crackling sounds of a campfire begin to play.

From the get-go Sky Song was thoughtful and provoking. Narrated by highly acclaimed singer, songwriter and Aboriginal rights campaigner, Archie Roach, his storytelling takes you on a journey through how our First peoples lived and survived, their deep connection to country and their stories of creation.

Watch on as hundreds of drones appear in the sky, fitted with a colourful display of lights. They buzz around and move smoothly into patterns that are perfectly synchronised with the storytelling, iconic Australian music and poetry. Listen as stories of the Ngarrindjeri people are accounted and how natural landmarks like the Milky Way and River Murray came to exist.

The show felt like an important event for Adelaide’s festival season with the narration touching on significant moments and events in Australia’s history. From stories of the stolen generation and the immense sadness felt by our First Nations peoples, Roach’s song ‘Took The Children Away’ plays and serves as a reminder that there are people in our community who are still very much impacted by these events, like Roach himself who was distressingly removed from his family at the age of 2 and placed into an orphanage.

The narration then moves on to explore themes of reconciliation and the joy experienced marching along King William Street when the APY Land Rights Act was announced in 1981 and to when the land was returned to the traditional APY peoples in South Australia.

Presented by Adelaide Fringe and Gluttony, Sky Song was an incredible and visually spectacular platform for exploring Aboriginal storytelling, our diverse culture and deepening our connection to the land around us.

Louise Gleeson

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