Musical signifiers in One Night the Moon

Musical signifiers in One Night the Moon
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This clip shows how soundtracks can be used to explore and negotiate different perspectives on Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations. It utilises musical signifiers of Aboriginal culture and white Australian culture to explore two musical perspectives on land ownership (i.e. an Aboriginal perspective and a white perspective). These perspectives are signified both through instrumentation, including the use of Aboriginal instruments such as the didgeridoo and instruments that have come to signify colonialism such as the violin and through the words of the film’s central songs.

'This Land is Mine/This Land is Me’ is sung by the two protagonists, the farmer, Jim Ryan (Paul Kelly), and the Aboriginal tracker, Albert Yang (Kelton Pell). The farmer’s lyrics invoke the experience of arduous work on a piece of mortgaged land to earn a living. The words also suggest an understanding of land ownership, defined by a clear geographic demarcation as well as written legal documentation. By contrast, the Aboriginal tracker’s words communicate the sense of being part of the land, rather than owning the land.

Production company:
Music Arts Dance Films
Rachel Perkins
Kevin Lucas, Paul Humfress, Aanya Whitehead
Paul Kelly, Kev Carmody and Maireed Hannah