Hope Vale’s Auntie Dora and the Red Dirt Band were recently joined by students of the Cape York Aboriginal Australian Academy (CYAAA) for a debut performance of The Constitution in Cairns.
The song, inspired by Ted Hawkins’ namesake, had hoped its unifying melody would become an anthem for the upcoming Recognition Referendum.
The launch of the song at the Cairns Festival on September 3 garnered positive feedback from audience members who said it helped to clarify their thoughts about the referendum.
“People came up to us afterwards and said the song spoke to them and they understood a little bit more,” Auntie Dora said.
She said that the song even helped some who had doubts decide which way to vote, and it had a similar effect on her.
“It was the unknown that was making me doubt, but listening to the lyrics over and over and how inclusive it was of everyone, it cleared some things up for me,” she said.
Curriculum developers at Good to Great Schools Australia, of which the Cape York Academy is part of, played around with the lyrics of Hawkins’ song to reflect the Australian Constitution.
It was then recorded by Auntie Dora and other Hope Vale musicians, who taught the song to the children on their annual band camp.
“It was a team effort and testimony to how much the parents and community of Hope Vale are engaged in the education of their children,” GGSA Director of Innovation Bernardine Denigan said.
The Constitution song can be listened to here: