Interweaving Voices Series: Wayai Bush Stone Curlew


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that this video may contain images and voices of those who have passed away.

This video reveals Wayai, the ancestral woman who now cries as the Wayai bird. Thinking how recordings from the archive add to the threading in and out of songs, hearing grieving in recordings made generations ago is a moving and sometimes confronting experience. Decisions around the inclusion of voices, names and songs are made with sensitivity and respect and with Tiwi family. Amongst the archive we have discovered some powerful examples of the women’s amparruwu grieving songs. They have inspired conversations and singing as older Tiwi women teach younger ones about the Wayai bird and her place in the Palingarri and today. This and the accompanying audiovisual piece were composed with the help of Augusta Punguatji, Frances Therese Portaminni, Jacinta Tipungwuti and Ella Puruntatameri.

This is the fourth video in the Sydney Environment Institute’s Interweaving Voices series, by musicologist and Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr Genevieve Campbell. The series unearths archival recordings of Ayipa songs from the Tiwi Islands – which are themselves ever-evolving recordings of history, culture, celebration, and loss.

Read Accompanying Article

Songs (in aural order):
Purrukapali KulamaClementine Puruntatameri and Ngarukuruwala Strong Women’s Group (2008)
AmparruwuEunice Orsto (2010)
Mamanunkuniunidentified woman (1954)
AmparruwuDorothy Tipungwuti (1966)

Other words and translations by Ella Puruntatameri and Jacinta Tipungwuti
Curated by Genevieve Campbell