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From the time of his professional debut – aged 15 – onwards, anyone who witnessed William Barton playing didjeridu could recognize instantly that his was a once-in-a-generation talent. Here was a didjeridu player raised in the strictest of Indigenous tradition amongst the Kalkadunga people, but with a musical sensibility equally honed on AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and speed metal.
William Barton’s brand new CD, Kalkugundu, reflects the explosion that occurred in his career following the main stage success of Earth Cry in 2002, where he was in demand not just as a performer but also as a composer. Mentored by Peter Sculthorpe, Barton attracted commissions for original scores from major ensembles both in Australia and internationally. At the same time, inspired by the intensity and ochre-coloured richness of Barton’s sound, like a musical heartbeat of the earth itself, Sculthorpe began recasting his own orchestral music to include Barton and his didjeridu.
Since then, composers have been lining up to work with Barton, and this album gives pride of place to a collaboration between William Barton and young Australian composer Matthew Hindson, whose unique ability to take the hard-driving gestures of heavy metal and transform them into dynamic orchestral music has made him a favourite with audiences around the world. Kalkadungu, premiered in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House in April 2008, fuses the explosive power of the full orchestra with the prophetic voice of the didjeridu, exploring the shifting relationships between opposing cultures, and the transition of traditional songlines between past, present and future.
1-5 Kalkadungu | William Barton & Matthew Hindson
6 Didjeridu Solo No. 1 | William Barton
7 Earth Cry | Peter Sculthorpe
8 Voice and Didjeridu Improvisation No. 1 | William Barton & Delmae Barton
9 I Dream of Sacred…I Am My Dream | William Barton
10 Didjeridu Solo No. 2 | William Barton
11 Requiem: VIII. Communion | Peter Sculthorpe
12 Voice and Didjeridu Improvisation No. 2 | William Barton & Delmae Barton
13 Didjeridu Solo No. 3 | William Barton
William Barton, Delmae Barton, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, The Queensland Orchestra,
Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Adelaide Chamber Singers and Southern Cross Soloists
Kalkadungu is released on 1 June 2012 by ABC Classics