Meeting Point Series: Hand to Earth was a musical collaboration between Sunny Kim, Daniel Wilfred and Peter Knight presented by Arts Centre Melbourne and Australian Art Ochestra as part of Asia TOPA 2020. The show brought together a unique selection of multicultural talent, musical styles and traditions to create an entrancing sound.
Korean jazz vocalist Sunny Kim and Yolngu song-man Daniel Wilfred (keeper of Yolngu manikay from North East Arnhem land) took centre stage in this show, presenting a series of skillfully blended pieces that preserved the distinctness of their rich musical styles. Kim’s compelling presence and versatile singing voice were beautifully complemented by the electronic effects and musical instruments in the show. Her vocal prowess was at its peak in the song Guguk (meaning bird), where she interleaved ethereal bird-like vocals with the singing. Wilfred, who sings in language from the oldest continuously practiced music tradition in the world (traced back over 40,000 years), performed his songs with a unique quality of spirit, strength and skill. The nuance in his performance shone through especially beautifully in the song Bambula, where he seemed to sing both as an individual and as a people, as if in dialogue with himself, his own multiple voices blending together to create a living echo as it were. The words were in a language unfamiliar to me, but still the song overflowed with emotion and meaning and moved the soul.
The vocalists were supported by a strong instrumental team – Peter Knight’s trumpet and electronic sounds, Aviva Endean on clarinets, and David Wilfred on the yidaki (didgeridoo). The overall impact of all the musicians coming together with their widely different sounds created an almost hypnotic environment, exposing the ear to unique creations, and opening up the mind to infinite possibilities. This collaboration produced stunning music that I’d dearly love to hear more of and attend again.