Musical Hunting & Gathering:
Jessie Lloyd first became curious about the songs form the Aboriginal reserves or the mission days when she heard her Aunties singing singing an old tune from Palm Island, QLD called ‘The Irex’. The Irex was the name of the boat that used to transport the stolen generation children and those removed under the Aborigines Protection Act in the early to mid 20th century. This song was what the families used to sing as they didnt know if they would see their loved ones again.
Jessie then approaches Songman Archie Roach and Professor Marcia Langton for direction and advice on how to begin the historic task.
The Irex performed by Jessie Lloyd and interview with Archie and Marcia.
Songs Treasure Trove:
And now after two years of traveling, research and consulting its seems Jessie has only scratched the surface. She has so far gathered a significant collection of around 40 – 50 ‘mission songs’, songs that were written about life on the mish’; on the settlements, reserves and native camps were Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people were removed.
Session with Elder Cedric Geia in Halfix, QLD.
From Elders to Libraries:
The primary approach in researching and reviving the old mission songs is through consultation with senior Indigenous songmen and songwomen. Jessie has traveled Australia visiting various communities and elders seeking their stories and advice about the music and life of the old days. Jessie has also been the recipient of the State Library of Victoria – Creative Fellowship Award 2016 and the National Library of Australia – Folk Fellowship Award 2017, providing valuable access and resources into researching the oral history and other hidden gems in the archives.
Mission Songs Project advisors and contributors:
And so the list goes on as Jessie researches for these songs, a very organic process and needs to be treated with patience and respect. Below is a list of some of the advisors and contributing performers so far…
Archie Roach – Patron and Senior Advisor
Marcia Langton – Patron and Senior Advisor
Peena, Cedric, Lillian, Delphine and Joe Geia
John Wayne Parsons