A fire flickered in the darkness and children played and laughed as the Roebourne community and visitors gathered by the Harding River to share music of peace and hope.
Several hundred people came together at the Ngurin Cultural Centre amphitheatre last Saturday for the final concert of Songs for Peace, a festival celebrating indigenous culture in Roebourne that is now in its second year.
With the theme of Female Voices, this year’s event was headlined by soul powerhouse Emma Donovan, singer-songwriter Naomi Pigram, and country artist Theona Councillor.
Other local and visiting artists who performed included Tyson Mowarin, Josie Alec, Angus Smith, Koda TahiTahi, Aaron Hopper, Cyril Munda and the Community Band, and Hamilton and Stirling Blacket, under the musical direction of Grammy Award-winning artist Lucky Oceans.
The Songs for Peace initiative is organised by arts group Big hART.
Big hART Roebourne creative producer Aimee Kepa said the event was about bringing people together to look towards a “new Roebourne”.
“Roebourne community members are super-resilient, super-strong, and I think this concert in particular is about celebrating the assets that Roebourne has and the things that they’re strong in,” she said.
“So Songs for Peace is a celebration of hope and renewal and this idea that Roebourne is a place with a positive future ahead of it.”
The concert featured plenty of songs and stories about Roebourne, including some written by community members or inmates of Roebourne Regional Prison which were performed by the headline acts.
It came after several weeks of lead-up events including music and songwriting workshops and community dinners, and also featured an exhibition of artworks by indigenous female Pilbara artists.
Ms Kepa said the event theme this year had been a powerful opportunity to celebrate the impact of women in the community.
“There are some incredible women in Roebourne that do so many different things and are really the fabric of the community, and I think having female artists headlining this year’s Songs for Peace gives it a different angle to last year,” she said.
The Songs for Peace concert was held on September 21 to coincide with the International Day of Peace.