Hand In Hand Celebrates Western Australia's Aboriginal-Irish Cultural Connections

The Rogues play Hand In Hand festival, which takes place at Kidogo Arthouse (Fremantle) 12-14, 17 March.
Our eclectic team of writers from around Australia – and a couple beyond – with decades of combined experience and interest in all fields.

Hand In Hand, the inaugural Kidogo Irish Aboriginal Festival, is a celebration of the love stories and friendships shared between Irish people and Aboriginal people in Western Australia.

This relatively unknown connection is embraced in a programme including live music connecting Irish and Western Australian performers, poetry, books, exhibitions, dance, friendly AFL and GAA football, and even a soda-bread versus damper cook-off.

It is a mix of free and ticketed events at Kidogo Arthouse in Fremantle and runs 12-14 March with a special St Patrick's Day programme on 17 March.

Producer and Artistic Director of Kidogo Arthouse, Joanna Robertson says: "This is a celebration of two cultures that has never been done before.

"There are long familial and friendship connections between the local aboriginal community and the Irish people that arrived in Australia.

"This festival is an opportunity to recognise them and create new and exciting creative collaborations between Ireland and Australia."

Legendary Irish folk singer-songwriter Luka Bloom will perform virtually on a 10-metre high mega projection wall, as will award-winning folk artist Daoiri Farrell (Van Diemen's Land) who was one of the stars of the 2017 viral airport performance, and acclaimed singer-songwriter SON (Susan O'Neill).

Aboriginal performers include the world-travelled, legendary blues singer from the Kimberley Olive Knight Kankawa Nagarra as well as The Yabu Band and Dave Milroy & The Wilarra Band.

Well known WA musical acts including Fieldsy & The Corrberries, The Rogues, Ciaran O’Sullivan, John Barrett, Kenneth Dawson, Lucky Oceans and Brian Rice Dalton will also perform.

"We have Irish and Aboriginal musicians songwriting together. Famous musicians in Ireland delighted to perform virtually at this Festival – as they cannot perform and have not been able to do so for months," adds Joanna.

After recently experiencing her first traditional Irish session at Kidogo, Olive (who often plays with Lucky Oceans and has toured with Hugh Jackman) is now busily collaborating with young Fremantle-based Irish musician Ciaran O'Sullivan.

Their mutual admiration society is the perfect example of the kind of connections Kidogo creates.

Here, Olive shares 5 amazing moments she's had on tour.

1. Touring throughout Europe with Hugh Jackman's 'The Man The Music The Show'.

2. Travelling through the countryside of England.

3. Having a very spiritual moment in Ireland and appreciating its beauty and enjoying the best Irish stew.

4. Travelling across the channel from the White Cliffs of Dover to France.

5. Being with the cast and crew of the Hugh Jackman show and seeing the Eiffel Tower together. It was wonderful meeting my new friends on this tour.

Hand In Hand takes place at Kidogo Arthouse (Fremantle) 12-14, 17 March. Tickets on sale.

Hand In Hand Festival 2021 Line-up

The Yabu Band
Welcome to Country & Smoking Ceremony by Walter McGuire
The Rogues
Traditional Noongar Dance by Tjukan Keeninyirra (Dancing Sisters)
Ciaran O'Sullivan
Fieldsy & The Corrberries
Dave Milroy & The Wilarra Band
Kenneth Dawson
Bryan Rice Dalton
Lucky Oceans
Kavisha Mazzella
Giri Mazzella
Máirtín O’Dubhlaigh
Brian Finnemore
John Barrett
Fiona Doyle
John Reed
Lauralee Faith
Rose Parker
Sharyn Egan
Fiona Rea
Dan Ablett
Donough O’Donovan
Tommy O' Brien
John Clare
The Perth Irish Choir

Plus virtual performances:
Daoiri Farrell
Luka Bloom
SON (Susan O'Neill)

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