Saturday, June 12, 2010

Goodwill Forever!

I've been to over 40 countries with my wife Kay over the years and I have learned to appreciate and explore the indigenous music of such places.My travel souvenirs are usually CDs of music we hear along the way.Whether that's the music we'll hear sitting in a ger tent in Mongolia listening to a family sing and play the morin khur, or being farewelled by the lodge staff in Namibia, there's a real pleasure in listening to those musical performances played and sung from the heart of the ordinary folk we meet in our travels.My collection contains CDs I have bought off groups playing Cape Town's Waterfront,or Shiba a street performing group in Mbabane, the capital of Swaziland,and there's Gypsy music from Hungary and Romania,and throatsinging from Mongolia to think of just some.
And this Gibb River Road Leg 10 through the Kimberly region of Western Australia has  been much the same, with the discovery (for me anyway) of Australian Indigenous music.

And that has come about because of Tahn, of mixed Indigenous  descent,she has added an extra dimension to these past days.Tahn has sprung on me a few CDs of music she's passionate about.The first CD we heard was Peter Brandy , who had entertained us so well at Home Valley ,and impressed me with his professionalism , his vocal range , and his guitar skills.Just hearing the first song he sang that night, marked him out to me as a star.

Tahn has also introduced us to Rode Werks,and the Pigram Brothers , who have been appreciated by the whole crew.There's also a CD of Western Australian Indigenous music .So first stop on our return to Broome was to a CD music shop so I could load up with such music to take home.There's a marvellous thing about collecting music while travelling.Playing it often at home can allow you to be transported back to those wonderful times and places.And the people met along the way spring to mind so readily and don't fade so easily from one's consciousness.
And in that way  music imprints times and places upon your memory forever.I'm lucky enough to be able to play music all day long in my little workshop.So loading up my 5CD player with music from around the world,hitting Random Play, carries me back to so many countries while I'm working.
And there's an incident that happened at Galvin's Gorge that kind of got to me.We were trekking down to view the gorge and pools and came upon a stone cairn marking the track.Tahn was walking through so I said I'd show her a Mongolian custom travellers use to invoke good luck for their journey.So we walked around it three times then placed an offering upon it.Tahn thought this was quite unique and responded by leading me towards the river.Taking a rock, I had to then wipe my sweat upon it, saying out loud my name, and from where I'd come,I had to throw it in the stream.She then talked in her tribal language.I asked her what this meant and was told it's her tribe's custom of asking the spirits in the area to accept me, and protect me as I mean no harm.And she was translating my words into her tribe's language.We don't need to believe in these customs, but accepting and respecting them brings forth each individual's goodwill to travel well together.
I'm impressed with the way Tahn has imparted her tribal knowledge, shared her love of plants and animals as we've moved through this country.It's been felt by others and commented upon.She's been that added bonus on this trip, and opened the door a wee bit on Aboriginal culture.We can learn a lot from people like her.
There has also been Paul, our Road Manager with us.A very keen Birder and wildlife enthusiast.That has been another great add on to this trip.Consequently we've all taken a great interest in spotting birds and trying to identify them.And I've been invited to hassle him for all the photos of wildlife taken on this Gibb River Road Leg, so I can then go about identifying them .And so many birds.Flocks of parakeets, budgies,rosellas, cockatoos and more.The unseasonal late rains have benefited all the wildlife in the area.
And Doug, our taxi driver, with his knowledge of all the lizards, monitors, goanna's and snakes we've seen.
There will have to be another road trip, but this time with my wife Kay.But perhaps we'll never see this country as we were lucky enough to see it this time around.The late unseasonal rains have brought this country alive.Doug has travelled here many times in the past and has never seen it like this.Not the dry dusty land usual for this time of year.But lush grass, and trees and shrubs springing forth new growth.It's brought a bounty for the animals as there's plenty of food around and they are in great condition.Doug reckoned the lizards we caught he'd never seen them so fat!

Travel is not just about seeing the sights,photographing them and moving on to the next photo opportunity.
It's about experiencing , learning, and coming away with new or changed perspectives.And by collecting music CDs , I'm taking home a piece of the people and country, and getting under the skin of a country.This trip certainly has done that for me as a first time traveller to Western Australia.


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