Karollini Christmas is a A4 Paperback bound collection of ten new Australian carols by Indigenous Australian composer Elizabeth Sheppard for choral, solo or duet performance. The Karollini Christmas album, scheduled for release on December 1 2023, will be available on iTunes.
The songs in Karollini Christmas are arranged as choral pieces, with keyboard accompaniments. They celebrate the Australian Christmas season, as generations of Indigenous and immigrant Australians have known and loved it. Drawing on centuries of intercultural Australian heritage, and listening to the voices of my Country, Australian composer Elizabeth Sheppard has found melodies, lyrics and liturgical ways to sing up seasonal Australian scenarios and values, acknowledge Indigenous Countries and communities, and share her faith. She is one of many Indigenous Australian composers who make and perform uniquely Australian church music.
Mary Gentle Mother celebrates the Incarnation and birth of Jesus Christ, in the Indigenous Noongar language of South West Western Australia, and English. Ngangk Yira Sunrise Carol, a hymn to the rising sun that brings life, celebrates Christmas as the herald of salvation from sin and sorrow, as does the Coolamon Carol and Kaya Mary, the Hail Mary in Noongar language. On This Day infuses an ancient Latin Nativity hymn tradition into an Australian scenario, and the Kamay Carol continues the established Australian Church music practice of calling Australian birds and animals to share in community festivals. Taking a social justice approach to Christmas, Not in a Golden Palace directs attention away from greed to Indigenous Australian presence and needs, while Blue Sky Country hints that enjoying privileges is not enough, and teaches sharing. Focusing on Australian seasons, places. plants and creatures, Listen my Spirit and the Kamay Carol synchronise the Christmas story with the down to earth, outdoor Australian Christmas.
The studio recording of Karollini Christmas, funded by Elizabeth Sheppard and recorded by Tonus Australis pianist and conductor Antony Pitts and singers Elsa Susnjara, Sonya Holowell (Dharawal), Elias Wilson (Biripi) and Archie Tulk at 2MBS Fine Music Founders Studio, St Leonards NSW on December 20-21 2022 under Sheppard’s co-direction, and was released on the Tonus Australis / 1equalmusic label on December 1 2023.