The Building Bridges mob came together in February 1988. The following, after months on the telephone, was the result:
It was their inspiration to gather some of Australia's most influential acts together for an album that would draw attention to the plight of the original inhabitants of this country — the people who have an understanding of this land that few of us can comprehend — and provide an insight into the visions enjoyed by some of our premier artists.
The aim of this project was to provide funds to the National Coalition of Aboriginal Organisations (NCAO), a group representative of Aboriginal people throughout Australia. Funds raised through this record and other projects were used for peaceful projects aimed at enabling the NCAO to represent the Aboriginal peoples in consultation and negotiation with Australian governments in the pursuit of a just settlement. Funds were also set aside to seed projects aimed at bringing understanding and harmony to relations between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Australia.
The response to the proposal was overwhelming, evidence of the notion that our contemporary artists are concerned about the treatment of Aboriginal people and, along with their support personnel, were prepared to donate their time and talent to repairing the damage of the past.
This album marked the desire for a fair and equitable settlement with the indigenous peoples of Australia. If Australia is to move forward with any dignity, the time to act is now. If non-Aboriginal Australians take this opportunity to consult, listen and change, we will be taking those first vital steps toward the creation of an Australian society we can all be proud of. This was a voluntary project all the way through.
Building Bridges was the theme of a concert held at Sydney's Bondi Pavilion on January 24,1988. Organised as an expression of solidarity and support for Black Australia in our struggle for recognition during White Australia's bicentenary, the concert was a great success as thousands of Australians of all nationalities rocked on in a spirit of harmony, unity, friendship, happiness and mutual respect.
It is to that spirit of peace, harmony and mutual cooperation and respect that this album is dedicated. On the day of the Building Bridges concert, both myself, co-compere Peter Garrett, and the many great Aboriginal musicians and performers who appeared that day, all expressed the hope that one day perhaps all of Australia would be like that magical moment at Bondi. Those sentiments were echoed two days later when Australia's biggest ever march and rally of Aboriginal people and their supporters gathered again peacefully, harmoniously and with a sense of unity and purpose. Again Aboriginal leaders from all over the country expressed the desire to build a better Australia for all women, children and men, where the scourges of racism, sexism and exploitation would not exist. A dream? I don't think so. I have seen many apparently impossible dreams come true in my last 20 years in the Aboriginal peoples' struggle for justice, but we all have a long way to go. This album is an attempt by both Black and White Australians to "bridge" the gulf between us. It is only through better mutual understanding that we can proceed with the task of creating a more tolerant, compassionate, humane and equal Australian society. I hope this album inspires you to join with us who believe it can be done, or if not then be a mindless, apathetic bastard and at least enjoy the music! Yours in the struggle - Gary Foley (Project Co-ordinator).
LES SHILLINGSWORTH &. FRIENDS: "JUSTICE WILL BE DONE" - Les comes from the northern N.S.W. town of Brewarrina. Money raised from the original independent cassette release of this song (recorded at 4AK Toowoomba) went to the Committee To Defend Black Rights and towards the creation of a Lloyd James Boney Memorial Park in Brewarrina. Lloyd James Boney died in police custody in Brewarrina on August 6,1987.
CAL' CALLAGHAN: "DO IT RITE" - Former Riptides and GANGajang vocalist Mark 'Cal' Callaghan addresses the question of our relationship with the traditional owners of this country with this, his first solo outing. Released in late "88, it's taken from his debut solo album, Sailors and Mermaids. "Most Australians," says Cal of his reasons for writing the song, "feel there's not a lot they can do about it — they have no power because they feel this is an historical problem. I recognise that and this is why this issue has to be resolved, because young white Australians feel very distant from the cause of this problem. It's a difficult issue, but it must be settled."
|Peter Garrett with Midnight Oil|
MIDNIGHT OIL: "WARAKURNA" - In 1986 the Oils embarked on the "Blackfella-Whitefella" tour, a four week journey through the Aboriginal communities of the Northern Territory. Aspects of that tour were encapsulated in the album "Diesel & Dust". This song
was written after a visit to the Ngaanyatjarra community of Warakurna in the Western Desert, a land of open spaces, sacred places and strict rules.
JOE GEIA: "YIL LULL" - Originally from Palm Island, Joe Geia was an early member of seminal Aboriginal band No Fixed Address. The Pacific-flavoured "Yil Lull" is the title track of his first solo album. Dedicated to Paul Pryor, a brother who played didgeridoo on this track and died in the struggle last year, Yil Lull was among the best independent releases of 1988.
SCRAP METAL: "BROKEN DOWN MAN" - Scrap Metal are a hybrid child of the ever-fertile Broome music scene. A coastal town with a rich multicultural heritage, Broome's idyllic lifestyle has yielded some of the pearls of Australasian reggae. From the roots of that strange tropical plant have emerged the diverse styles of Scrap Metal. "Broken Down Man" is the title track of their second album. Recorded in Subiaco, it's been released by the infant Broome independent Jigil Records.
|Do Re Mi|
THE GRAVY: "SPIRIT OF THE LAND" - Originally recorded by Jo Jo Zep, this passionate version of the Martin Kellock composition was recorded last year by Gravy for his first solo album. A passionate supporter of the Aboriginal cause who worked in the Melbourne rock scene as a roadie and manager, the Gravy died in a car accident in October '88. Ross Hannaford did the mix.
V. SPY V. SPY: "INJUSTICE" - In their early days, the Spys toured the Aboriginal communities of western New South Wales with Gil Weaver's Roadshow. Their observations were subsequently encapsulated in this song.
CROWDED HOUSE: "MANSION IN THE SLUMS"-It was drummer Paul Hester who made the initial connection. Upon hearing about the Building Bridges project he was keen to become involved. Hence the donation of this Neil Finn song from one of the world's most popular acts.
GONDWAN ALAND: "BULL ANT" - Gondwanaland's didjeridoo player Charlie McMahon has spent a lot of time working with the Luritja and Pintupi people of the Western Desert, sinking bores and establishing outstations for the traditional owners of those lands.
SWAMP JOCKEYS: "STRYCHNINE" - A dynamic act from delightful Darwin, the Swamp Jockeys have spent much of their time working with Aboriginal people across the Top End. Strychnine, from the mini-album Bones Of Contention, deals with the poisoning of Aboriginal people in Alice Springs in the mid '80s.
ROSS WILSON: "LIVING IN THE LAND OF OZ"-An Australian classic from one of the country's most respected songwriters, musicians, vocalists and producers, Living In The Land Of Oz was first released in October '76. "This song articulates the sentiment of the Building Bridges project."
|No Fixed Address|
The National Coalition Of Aboriginal Organisations
The National Coalition of Aboriginal Organisations (N.C.A.O.) was formed in April 1986 to provide a strong voice at the national level for Aboriginal community-based organisations. It is a collective organisation respecting the autonomy of its member organisations. Its membership now includes national Aboriginal organisations in such areas as Health, Land Rights, the Law, Child Care and Community Administration. Membership is open to all Aboriginal organisations which are community, rather than government, initiated and controlled.
By donating their songs to this project, the artists have waived their standard performance and songwriting royalties. In a show of solidarity, their record companies and publishing firms have also waived their mechanical royalties. The results of their generosity will, no doubt, be evident in the years to come.
For further information on the N.C. A.O. write to P.O. Box 229, Glebe, N.S.W. 2037.
This post consists of FLACs ripped from my CD copy of this double album (have the vinyl also) and includes full artwork from both media types. This compilation of White Australian and Indigenous artists is a who's who of Aussie musicians that have played a key role in building not only the Australian Music Industry but also highlighting the importance of our cultural heritage.
I trust you will appreciate the significance of this release when you listen to it and acknowledge the importance of our Indigenous music.
01 - Special Treatment (Paul Kelly)
02 - Justice Will be Done (Shillingsworth)
03 - Solid Rock (Goanna)
04 - Breakneck Road (Hunters & Collectors)
05 - Yil Lull (Joe Geia)
06 - Warakurna (Midnight Oil)
07 - Strychnine (Swamp Jockeys)
08 - That Hanging Business (Do Re Mi)
09 - Injustice (V. Spy V. Spy)
10 - Do It Rite (Cal Callaghan)
11 - Original Sin (INXS)
12 - Broken Down Man (Scrap Metal)
13 - Speak No Evil (Dragon)
14 - Mansion In The Slums (Crowded House)
15 - Spirit Of The Land (The Gravy)
16 - Bullant (Gondwanaland)
17 - Swing For The Crime (The Saints)
18 - Living InThe Land Of Oz (Ross Wilson)
19 - We Have Survived (No Fixed Address)
Building Bridges FLACs (480Mb)