Celebrating Bunuru at Yagan Square

Yagan Square will host the end of the Noongar season of Bunuru with a free three-day community event over the weekend.

The Bunuru Festival will bring attention to WA’s Aboriginal culture through live music, activities for kids, Aboriginal dance and market stalls, as well as offer cultural tours of Yagan Square.

Go Cultural Aboriginal Tours director Walter McGuire, who will be doing the Welcome to Country opening the event, said it marks the close of the Bunuru season, which lasts from February to March, and is the second summer of the six seasons in the Noongar calendar—Birak, Bunuru, Djeran, Makuru, Djilba and Kambarang.

“The Welcome to Country is important to show respect to the native landowners,” Mr McGuire said.

Yagan Square is the first significant site in an Australian city to be named in honour of an Aboriginal person. Photo: Ailish Delaney.

Wadumbah Noongar Dance group founder and leader James T Webb, who will be performing at the festival, said the main importance of the event was to show mainstream Australia that First Nation peoples and their customs and traditions and dance and music were still doing well.

“Second thing, to inspire people and to let our people know they can feel secure in their culture, it’s still going along nicely and strong in 2019,” Mr Webb said.

He said this year’s festival will be more exciting than last year with the addition of a corroboree.

“Last year was different groups coming through two days doing a workshop and performance,” he said.

“This year, it’s still the two days, but on the [Saturday] in the evening we’ve got a few groups together to do a corroboree, so several groups come in and do their performance all in one go and one at a time all the different groups will gather and do their bit.

“At the end, they’ll have a common dance with the didgeridoo players going and everyone will be invited to jump in and do a dance, anybody and everybody can jump in.”

Along with traditional dances and musicians, visitors can view live performers and artworks on the Yagan Square digital tower. Photo:Ailish Delaney.

It is the second celebration of Bunuru to be held at Yagan Square and Mr Webb said the group is looking forward to it.

The festival will feature traditional dance ceremonies from Indigenous groups including Mr Webb’s Wadumbah group, Koolangkas Kreate, Presbyterian Ladies College, Mungart Yongah and Kwobidak Yok Kenning.

Local performers will be busking as well as music in the amphitheatre from performers BoJesse Pigram, Jonny Ford, Boox Kid (Jarrad Wall), Moombakai and more across the three days.

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