Nyurpaya was born deep in the desert of Central Australia. Her mother travelled hundreds of miles barefoot before giving birth alone at a massive desert mesa called Atila – a place which became her spiritual country.
Nyurpaya Kaika Burton is a respected and revered senior artist, educator, storyteller and cultural leader. She is also one of the few remaining poetic speakers of Pitjantjatjara, a traditional Indigenous language of Central Australia’s remote Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands. There were once more than 400 traditional languages spoken across the Australian continent, but only around 13 are still spoken by children – all threatened by policies restricting Aboriginal people from speaking their languages and the ongoing forces of colonisation.
At the age of 70, she decided to share this deeply personal story of her birth, revealing, for the first time, the traditional birthing methods that have helped define her cultural life. Telling this story is part of her continuous work to protect her ancient culture, and to ensure that future generations can speak the language it lives in.
The soundscape is binaural, specifically recorded on the country of Nyurpaya’s birth, in one of the most remote parts of Australia. Therefore the piece is best experienced through headphones.
Produced by Nyurpaya Kaika-Burton
Sound, editing and co-production by Caddie Brain
Translation: Linda Rive
Producing organisation: Tjala Arts
Supported by the Australia Council for the Arts and Ara Irititja.
With thanks also to Third Coast International Audio Festival wher