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Yalanji Woman of Song, Deline Briscoe, launches solo debut CD, Wawu

BY Diana Wolfe | 10-Jul-2018
After 10 years touring the world as a principal artist with the Black Arm Band and performing with Archie Roach, Dr G Yunupingu and Jessie Lloyd’s Mission Songs Project, Yalanji woman of song Deline Briscoe is launching her stunning solo debut album, Wawu. Deline will launch Wawu at her two musical home towns, Melbourne Recital Centre on Thursday 5 July, accompanied by her full band, and Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) on Saturday 14 July, accompanied by a three-piece band and a talented harmony trio. Wawu—a Yalanji word encompassing the concepts of spirit, heart, love and connections between people, land, past, present and future—tells the story of four generations of women from one family: Deline, her daughter Jade, her Mother and her Mother’s mother. #wawu #honestart #musicthehealer #jazzroots #love #blessed #liveingratitude #blackNbloom
After 10 years touring the world as a principal artist with the Black Arm Band and performing with Archie Roach, Dr G Yunupingu and Jessie Lloyd’s Mission Songs Project, Yalanji woman of song Deline Briscoe is launching her stunning solo debut album, Wawu.

Deline will launch Wawu at her two musical home towns, Melbourne Recital Centre on Thursday 5 July, accompanied by her full band, and Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) on Saturday 14 July, accompanied by a three-piece band and a talented harmony trio.

Wawu—a Yalanji word encompassing the concepts of spirit, heart, love and connections between people, land, past, present and future—tells the story of four generations of women from one family: Deline, her daughter Jade, her Mother and her Mother’s mother.

Sung in Yalanji language as well as English, the songs extend a gentle call to people struggling in life; an acknowledgement of their pain, and a tender reassurance that can only come from women who have risen, triumphant, from the darkest of times.

While the songs speak of the older women’s journeys through the trauma of separation from their families and of her own experience with abusive relationships, the mood of the album is compassionate and redemptive. In both subject and style, the album’s acoustic soul/hip-hop/jazz fusions draw parallels with Lauryn Hill’s groundbreaking The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

Deline’s extraordinary jazz-infused vocals are enriched by all-acoustic instruments brilliantly played by Airileke Ingram (drums), Robbie Finch (double bass), Stephen Maxwell (piano), Paul Coyle (trumpet) and Phil Bywater (clarinet/saxophone) as the core band.

Special guests include ARIA award-winning jazz pianist/composer Andrea Keller, with whom Deline co-wrote the exquisite Sonrise. Ignorance Is Bliss, written by Tiddas (Lou Bennett, Amy Saunders and Sally Dastey), is given a contemporary re-working and features the reunited Tiddas on harmony vocals. Deline’s 12-year-old daughter, Jade’Amali Leuga, lends her assured spoken-word vocals to In The Night. Sister songstresses from the Mission Songs Project, Jessie Lloyd, Jess Hitchcock and Emma Donovan, harmonise throughout.

In Ngadijina, a spoken-word piece, Deline recites her Nanna’s memories of witnessing her family being taken by police in the era of the first stolen generation (quoted verbatim from her Nanna’s interview for the Bringing Them Home report), while the ethereal Tree (co-written by Deline and Bart Willoughby, based on a poem and lyrics by Kevin Gilbert), is a hymn to creation and nature.

Wawu is the realisation of Deline’s creative vision, nurtured over the last 20 years. The launch concerts promise to capture the imaginations, hearts and ears of audiences—her album and show will be a spiritual experience as much as a musical journey. The Melbourne CD launch is also the opening concert for the Yinga-bul 2018 season. This year, Yinga-bul is curated by acclaimed singer, songwriter and social historian Jessie Lloyd, and features an all-female line-up along the 2018 NAIDOC Theme “Because of Her, We Can”.

Deline Briscoe is an internationally acclaimed singer songwriter hailing from the Kuku Yalanji of far northern Australia. Her soulful intimate sound has defined her as one of Australia’s finest voices. A principal artist in Australia’s leading performing arts company Black Arm Band, Deline has performed to over one million people worldwide, alongside artists such as Archie Roach, Dr G Yunupingu, Tiddas, Emma Donovan, and Jessie Lloyd’s Mission Songs Project. Showcasing her strong Indigenous heritage with songs in her mother tongue Gugu Yalanji of North Queensland, Deline's progressive journey as a Yalanji songwoman upholds cultural song traditions through her language connection. As a mother, Deline also has an understanding of the beauty and pain of our human experience, her songs bring messages of love, hope and empowerment for women. With humble beginnings in the trio act Briscoe Sisters, Deline developed exceptional abilities in musical arrangements and compositions. Her unique sound is described as 'Rainforest Soul'; acoustic roots with harmonies interweaving vocal lines that seamlessly move between traditional and modern songlines.