Movies

The Song Keepers

Synopsis

Central Australia’s answer to The Buena Vista Social Club, The Song Keepers tells the uplifting story of women from the world’s oldest culture preserving some of the world’s oldest sacred songs, connecting Germany to Aboriginal history in the process.

In the central desert region around Hermannsburg, west of Alice Springs, a hidden 140-year musical legacy of ancient Aboriginal languages and German baroque hymns is being preserved by four generations of song women who form the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir.

Singing 14th-century Lutheran hymns – brought to the area by missionaries – in their own western Arrarnta and Pitjantjatjara tongues, the choir’s efforts to save these sacred songs are boosted by the arrival from Melbourne of a charismatic conductor who orchestrates a historic tour of Germany to bring the hymns back to their homeland.

Award-winning filmmaker Naina Sen documented that tour, and its preparations, capturing the highs and lows as these remarkable women share their music and stories of cultural survival, identity and inclusive cross-cultural collaboration with the world. The resulting film is a joyous celebration of music.

It doesn't matter where you are from, music brings us together. — A singer of the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir

Trailer

Details

Cast
The Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir
Morris Stuart
Release dates
6 August 2017 – World premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival
19 April 2018 – Australia
Video/DVD release date
4 October 2018
Rating
Distributor
Potential Films
Notes

The songs are sung in Pitjantjatjara and Western Aranda.

Find "The Song Keepers" on DVD, BluRay or on streaming services

Browse Aboriginal film suppliers and distributors

Explore more Aboriginal movies

Explore movie history with the Aboriginal film timeline.

Take the quiz: Are you an Aboriginal movie buff?

Harvard citation

Korff, J 2018, The Song Keepers, <https://www.creativespirits.info/resources/movies/the-song-keepers>, retrieved 18 April 2019

Knowledge is better when your friends know too.
Who can you help today?

"Knowledge is like money: to be of value it must circulate, and in circulating it can increase in quantity and, hopefully, in value." — Louis L’Amour

Join more than 12,863 Smart Owls who know more!