& Artistic Director
Blasko, Daniel Rojas and Kurrawong Ensemble
Australian authors are famous for a style of writing called magic
realism. In these stories events slip just beyond normal to super-normal:
from realistic to hyper-real. It can be a very subtle technique and
Australian authors are very good at it. Writing in this style is in
their blood. It’s the same for Australian composers. They are
good at it because of the inspiration of the Australian landscape.
Sometimes, in real life the natural landscapes of Australia can feel
hyper-real. It can be a deeply disturbing and exhilarating experience.
Far North Queensland typifies this magic realism. Nature is intoxicating
and overwhelming: the heat and a sunset both can make you gasp. As
inspiration for a musical work the Far North is a gift. To the outside
composer observer life seems amplified. Laid in Earth is Damian Barbeler’s
response to this gift of writing a piece of music about a place and
for the people of that place. As a creative task Barbeler has described
it as “intriguing and imposing”. After all, it isn’t
easy tell the story of a people you have only just met to those same
people. Barbeler has chosen therefore not to tell a particular story.
Instead, a number of possible stories are told in the form of songs.
Some are sung by local people in their own style, bringing their own
knowledge of the Far North to the music. Other stories are glimpses
of possible lives of a lonely. She is not a real character from history.
She is a possible woman from history. Her songs are famous arias adapted
from famous operas but radically changed, an expression of her search
for simple love and companionship in the intense, overwhelming, magically
real tropical landscape of the Far North. something he always expressed
a keen desire for.