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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | December 9, 2023

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Emily Wurramara Paints Lyrical Landscapes with Camerata

Emily Wurramara Paints Lyrical Landscapes with Camerata
Claire Matthews

Camerata – Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra’s latest concert series painted lyrical Landscapes, taking audiences on a journey across seas and skies.

Held this week in both Brisbane and Toowoomba, the Landscapes program showcased the versatility of Camerata. It included contemporary and classical music, spanning from Australia, to Europe, Russia and Spain.

Award-winning Australian blues-and-roots singer-songwriter Emily Wurramara joined Camerata, presenting some of her original compositions in her own language. We caught up with Emily after the concert.

The Creative Issue: What was it like to perform with Camerata in their Landscapes concerts this week?

Emily Wurramara: It was amazing. I feel very honoured and humbled to be joining and have joined them on stage. I think that individually, they’re amazing. As a collective that’s so inspirational. It’s really lovely to see everyone come together and play music. Considering the times we’re in, we’re very lucky to be able to be on stage and singing and playing and doing our thing. I had a great time with them. They’re all amazing people.

TCI: What did you enjoy most in the concert?

EW: I loved just being on stage. I loved watching the dynamic between everyone from the orchestra to the audience and the audience to the orchestra. It was special to be part of and to witness. Just being there was really special. I think it’s not very often you see an orchestra collaborate with First Nations artists and highlight language. It was really cool to see two worlds come together.

TCI: The Landscapes program also included some of your own compositions. How did it feel to perform these with Camerata?

EW: For me, it was awesome. I love classical music. I’ve always dreamed of having my songs turned into more of a classical style. I think that they did an amazing job. I’m very lucky. Brendan was such a joy to work with. He was very understanding and very patient. With language especially, being able to capture that in a different perspective, the messages I was wanting to sing and utilising these beautiful instruments to bring out those messages. It was beautiful and respectful. I think that more collaborations with First Nations languages should be done in music because it’s such a universal way to bring people together and to educate people.

TCI: What were some challenges in the repertoire?

EW: In Hear Me and Remember, I was really stumped because I forgot the lyrics at one stage of the performance. The orchestra was really, really supportive. There was no embarrassment or shame. There was just love and support. Even though that was a challenge, it was met really beautifully, with such encouraging support and beautiful people. So, we just had fun. There was no pressure to be able to do things. It was just me and music and it was really lovely.

TCI: You’re usually a blues and roots singer, so what was it like to shift to a more classical style?

EW: Look, it was really interesting. I’m a blues and roots, folk, soul, R&B singer songwriter. I think that classical wasn’t my genre, but I found it really beautiful, really emotional. It was a beautiful way to learn how to understand the genre, by being a part of it. So it made my love for it grow even more.

TCI: Tell me a little about your journey so far as a First Nations singer/ songwriter?

EW: My journey so far has been an interesting one. It’s always constant. You’re always there, and you’re always a presence. In a way, you’re a role model to these young brothers and sisters, who look up to you because they love your music. Doing and standing by what makes me proud as a First Nations woman, as a Anindilyakw woman, and just embracing that wholeheartedly and effortlessly. It’s been really interesting to see the growth of First Nations music in the industry, I think it’s so deadly. But obviously, I do think that we still have a long way to go. We’ve got to learn how to hold space, and to respect that space as well. So it’s always a balance, the good and the bad. But at the end of the day, it’s really beautiful, because I get to do what I love, and what makes me happy.

TCI: What can we look forward to in your upcoming second album?

EW: My next album is really super, extremely personal. A lot of the stuff I’m talking about is based on my own personal experience. It’s more in-depth, and more in line with your own mental health and looking after yourself, putting yourself first and your happiness as well. It’s a celebration of love, of pain, of joy of hurt, trauma, but embracing that wholeheartedly to kind of find peace. So yeah, I’m really excited for it. It’s going to be awesome. And I really hope that it just heals people when they listen to it and people and makes people feel good.

TCI: What else is on your horizon for the rest of 2021?

EW: So I’ll be playing Bluesfest and Byron Bay in October. I’m also supporting the Whitlans on their tour. I’m trying not to do so much with the pandemic going on and not to travel as much. So, to be at home with my bub and my family and just have some chill time before the album comes out. I’m just working on it, which is really exciting. It’s mainly the album and focused on at the moment.

If you missed Camerata at their Landscapes concert, be sure to catch them at The Conference of the Birds in September. Blending together exquisite music, poetry and illustrations, this concert will have you soaring like a bird.

Camerata Concerts Coming Up

What: The Conference of the Birds.
When: 10 Sep (Brisbane) & 18 Sep (Toowoomba)
Where: QPAC & Empire Theatre
More info: Here.