Leempeeyt Weeyn’ returns burning continuously from August 5 – 20. Leempeeyt Weeyn’ (meaning campfire in the Gunditjmara language of Western Victoria) warms the heart of Federation Square, serving as a place of gathering for storytelling, learning, celebration and cultural exchange.
There will be several not-to-be-missed events happening alongside the fire. The opening ceremony on the 5 August from 4pm-5pm is one of them and is themed ‘Creation’. It will start with an Acknowledgement of Country by Vicki Couzens, Uncle Larry Walsh and Robert Bundle. As the fire is lit, the story of passing of traditional Aboriginal culture from old to young will be told through traditional-contemporary dance performed by Sermsah Bin Saad.
This will be followed by powerful musical performances by Robert Bundle and Brett Lee – both singing about their own stories of growing up in Aboriginal culture.
The next must-see performance to jot down in your diary is themed ‘Connect’ on the 19 August from 4pm-6pm. Four powerful Indigenous women will take to stage. Maylene Slater-Burns, Crystal Clyne, Isabelle Thomson and Shauntai Batzke each have a unique musical style you will have the chance to hear.
Maylene writes to inspire conversations about identity and vulnerability. Her soft ballads are haunting, uplifting and thought-provoking. This will contrast to Crystal’s style (also known as Lady Lash), who combines hip hop and jazz to express her story of growing up half Aboriginal and half Greek. Isabelle is an emerging talent who will brings acoustic ballads to the stage. To end the evening on a high note, Shauntai, who has also graced The Sydney Opera House, will sing beautiful opera and gospel for those around the campfire.
Finally, on the 20 August between 4pm-5pm, come for the closing night of ‘Blessing’. There will be closing speeches blessing the people of this land before renowned Aboriginal opera singer, Deborah Cheetham AO, takes to the stage to perform an original song written in the Boon Warrung language called Wominjeka Birrarunga. This will be followed up by poems by four talented Indigenous poets; Kalinda Palmer, Kat Clarke, Louis Mokak and Neil Morris.
The night will come to a close as the fire is extinguished and blessings to the people of the land are made as the smoke rises and disperses into the city, carrying these words with it.
If you’re curious to find out what else is happening alongside the fire, see the full program here