The Song Keepers


Documentary / Music

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 80%
IMDb Rating 7.9 10 5


Downloaded times
November 11, 2020



720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
806.86 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
84 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.46 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
84 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by andrewbunney 8 / 10 / 10

Great characters and interwoven stories in a finely-crafted documentary

The Song Keepers tells the inspiring story of an Aboriginal women's choir and their historic tour of Germany. In the churches of remote Central Australia, a 140-year musical legacy of ancient Aboriginal languages, German sacred hymns and baroque music is being preserved by four generations of song women that make up the Central Australian Aboriginal Women's Choir. German Lutheran missionaries arrived in Hermannsburg in 1877, and unlike cruel others and the murderous, marauding British colonists, the Lutherans showed great respect for the traditional owners and their cultures. These missionaries were outstanding in protecting their flock from physical threats, as well as preserving the languages and safeguarding the children such that they were not separated from their mothers in that area. The mission wasestablished at a sacred site associated with the Aranda ratapa dreaming. It was conceived as an Aboriginal mission by Hermann Kemp and Wilhelm F. Schwarz of the German Hermannsburg Mission who had travelled overland from the Barossa Valley to live among the Aranda people. Pastor Carl Strehlow and his wife, Frieda took over in 1894. They continued documenting the Aranda language and were involved with local people in Bible translation and hymn writing. They soon constructed a school house, which was also used as a chapel and it was at this time that Hermannsburg's most famous son, painter Albert Namatjira, was born into the small community of about 100. The Aboriginal people reciprocated by embracing the Christian stories and music alongside their own and many were baptised. Particular pleasure was derived from channeling a love of singing through the Lutheran hymns, often translated into the indigenous languages. A new tradition of church choirs spread widely at the time, but was threatened with extinction by the arrival of Country and Western music from the US. With the ten year long collaboration of charismatic musical director Morris Stuart, the reformed present day choir is shown embarking on a tour of Germany, singing the baroque Lutheran hymns in their own Western Arrarnta and Pitjantjatjara languages. Thirty remarkable women take their vocal harmonising back to the gingerbread world of Bavaria with stories of cultural survival. They are a colourful choir for all Australians to be proud of. Most of the scenes are from rehearsals in Central Australia and performances in Germany, but there are also many still images from the Mission's history and some archival film from Hermannsburg over the past century. Full of great characters and interwoven stories, The Song Keepers is a finely-crafted documentary, recommended for people with an interest in Indigenous culture or choral and a cappella singing, not to mention ethnomusicologists.

Reviewed by roger_harrop 9 / 10 / 10

"This is a Must-see documentary"

According to a close friend...this is a must-see documentary. He was RIGHT! I saw "The Songkeepers" today at the Elsternwick Classic - one of the very few cinemas in Melbourne to give it a run. It is a superb piece of documentary cinema!! What an inspiring combination of cross-cultural collaboration between the aboriginal choir members and their choir leader Morris Stuart. The beauty of the barebones, beautiful landscapes in the vicinity of Alice Springs with their originally Lutheran mission settlements, when contrasted against the lushness of the German landscapes & townscapes documented through which their concert tour passed, was amazing to them - and to us as viewers of them. The cinematography of this documentary was FABULOUS! The colours and textures were shown with sufficient time to take them in fully; the close-ups in particular were stunning - whether of the soil, the flames of a fire or of the faces of the individuals who formed part of this very well-told story. The strong relationships of the choir members to Morris Stuart their choir leader, who was originally Guatemalan was obvious, unforced and simply heart-warming to see. The commitment of current-day settlement staff-members to supporting the choir's tour to Germany was clear and the settlement Archivist's background stories of the German Lutheran missionaries work in nineteenth and early twentieth century outback Australia were really well told. The up-close interviews with the choir members from the three settlements were among the best and least self-conscious on-screen-portraits I've witnessed. Told simply and clearly, their stories were of lives not lived easily - particularly in the transition from traditional aboriginal law to somewhat less exacting, but sometimes mis-guided white governance. But the many human kindnesses and protections afforded the aboriginal families by the missionaries and government workers were a pleasure to hear of. The traditions of Gospel choirs as a community activity across the aboriginal communities and the obvious joy and pride taken in it was illustrated as part of the background story to the present day choir's continuation of that tradition. This documentary is the story of the a initiative which preserved aboriginal language by embedding it into gospel hymns - a seriously visionary initiative of the Lutheran missionaries of the late nineteenth century. We and they are their beneficiaries! I am fortunate to be able to see the Australian Aboriginal Womens Choir perform in Melbourne in a few weeks time. I am so looking forward to seeing them sing live. It's up there with "Finding Vivian Maier" as a quality piece of documentary work.

Reviewed by rev-sellis 9 / 10 / 10

God was in this land and we never knew

This is a documentary of strength of women. The APY land women have long been held as the custodians of story and song and here their determination to express spirituality in the German hymns of the settler missionaries, in. their own language and return to Germany is poignant. In some ways it could be seen as a triumph for colonial Christianity, but I dispute that. These women know the presence of God in their own stories and these truths are what is being conveyed back to the German church of Luther. God was in their land, if only the missionaries had bothered to find out.

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