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Smoke Encrypted Whispers
Samuel Wagan Watson

Southern Cross Soloists

Ron Haddrick (Narrator)

Composer(s):  23 Brisbane composers:Tom Adeney, Damian Barbeler, William Barton, Betty Beath, Gerard Brophy, Lisa Cheney, Peter Clarke, Stephen Cronin, Robert Davidson, Paul Dean, Louise Denson, John Gilfedder, Ralph Hultgren, Michael Knopf, Stephen Leek, Mary Mageau, Freeman McGrath, Richard Mills, Sean O’Boyle, Peter Rankine, Marianne Scholem, Stephen Stanfield, Toby Wren.
Catalogue Number:  MR301140
“Outstanding, innovative, inspiring…Disc of the Year” Otago Daily Times (NZ)
“...remarkable CD... a sonic tapestry of contemporary Brisbane, as torpid as a summer day, as threatening as a thundershower ...” Weekend Australian
“...lovingly to be treasured.” Limelight

Poetry of remarkable humanity accompanied by musical performances of scintillating colour and nuance…

Smoke Encrypted Whispers is a sequence of 23 poems by the leading Australian indigenous poet Samuel Wagan Watson that pairs the Brisbane-born writer’s texts with succinct musical commentaries – part reflection, part response – by 23 of the poet’s Brisbanite composer peers.

What results – in a performance by the musicians of Southern Cross Soloists interspersed with readings of the individual poems by the distinguished Australian actor Ron Haddrick – is a variegated tapestry given cohesion and coherence by the multiple interwoven threads of Watson’s words.

Smoke Encrypted Whispers offers tales of the poet’s own interior dreamtime and depth of feeling to produce a vivid and touching picture of growing up in suburban Brisbane.

While offering one revealing insight after another into the spirituality of displaced indigenous experience in contemporary urban Australia, Watson’s poetry taps into a potent mythology that predates the settled history of the continent – as well alluding to the fears, heartbreaks, hopes and humour that are universal rather than isolated qualities. Through it, we are invited into a magical universe veiled behind the obfuscating layers of our mundane existence.

Watson’s Brisbane is a Grimm’s fairy-tale world, where half-seen spectres and almost intelligible whispers inhabit the night, and hideous metal gorgons sneer and yowl in the searing light of the day. His vibrant poetry innocently and fearlessly lays bare the stories of his life, and offers incisive glimpses of the mysterious undercurrents that flow deeply beneath and through all of our lives. The triumph of the poems is their facility for capturing and coining that submerged, sub-conscious other-world’s ephemeral and forever changing intimations to give them felt and forceful substance. It also provides a rich muse for his compatriot composers’ evocative miniatures, to which the richly expressive woodwind palette of the Southern Cross Soloists adds piquancy and urgency.

More cathartic than years of therapy, more fun than meditation, Smoke Encrypted Whispers offers evidence that our own inner dream world is far more vital and vivacious than anything flickering virtually on a cinema, television or computer screen. And it offers a remarkable and rare opportunity to experience poetry of remarkable humanity accompanied by musical performances of scintillating colour and nuance.

The Performers:
Made up of distinguished soloists, Southern Cross Soloists is one of Australia’s most successful and respected chamber ensembles.

Actor Ron Haddrick MBE is a treasured member of the Australian acting fraternity, whose extensive work on stage and television and in radio during a career exceeding 65 years has endeared him to generations of Australians.

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Smoke Encrypted Whispers

Track Listing

1-2 smoke signals (Robert Davidson) 3:26 Preview $1.20    Buy
3-4 tigerland (Paul Dean) 2:56 Preview $1.20    Buy
5-6 scared of the dark (Richard Mills) 2:55 Preview $1.20    Buy
7-8 wecker road (Toby Wren) 4:16 Preview $1.20    Buy
9-10 cribb island (Stephen Cronin) 3:16 Preview $1.20    Buy
11-12 capalaba (William Barton) 3:35 Preview $1.20    Buy
13-14 rip (Ralph Hultgren) 3:24 Preview $1.20    Buy
15-16 smoke water (Mary Mageau) 3:38 Preview $1.20    Buy
17-18 author’s notes #1 (Stephen Stanfield) 3:22 Preview $1.20    Buy
19-20 darkroom (Peter Rankine) 3:00 Preview $1.20    Buy
21-22 fisherman islands (Louise Denson) 3:19 Preview $1.20    Buy
23-24 paper trails to midnight (Damian Barbeler) 2:23 Preview $1.20    Buy
25-26 author’s notes #2 (Sean O’Boyle) 3:53 Preview $1.20    Buy
27-28 ghosts of boundary street (Lisa Cheney) 4:59 Preview $1.20    Buy
29-30 dog tired tune (John Gilfedder) 3:15 Preview $1.20    Buy
31-32 when I crossed the ditch . . . (Tom Adeney) 3:57 Preview $1.20    Buy
33-34 author’s notes #3 (Freeman McGrath) 3:41 Preview $1.20    Buy
35-36 the dust company (Marianne Scholem) 3:07 Preview $1.20    Buy
37-38 from boundary street, west end, to the berlin wall, east germany (Peter Clark) 4:57 Preview $1.20    Buy
39-40 snapshots (Betty Beath) 3:00 Preview $1.20    Buy
41-42 aunty grey smoke (Michael Knopf) 3:44 Preview $1.20    Buy
43-44 author's notes – conclusion (Stephen Leek) 3:15 Preview $1.20    Buy
45-46 revolver (Gerard Brophy) 3:31 Preview $1.20    Buy
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