Hand to Earth is a call to open ears: eluding genre, traversing continents and fusing ancient and contemporary. At its heart are Yolgnu manikay (song cycles), a 40,000+ year-old oral tradition from South East Arnhem Land, northern Australia. These songs exist to cross vast time and space, to continuously make the continuous – known as raki, the spirit that pulls all together, all performers all listeners.
Hand to Earth developed during an Australia Art Orchestra (AAO) residency in the remote highlands of Tasmania. Yolgnu songman, Daniel Wilfred, and Korean vocalist, Sunny Kim, formed an effortless rapport; their combined vocal approaches expressing a deeply human commonality whilst also invoking raw elemental forces. Trumpeter and composer, Peter Knight draws upon his minimalist influence to create a bed of electronic atmospheres that meld beautifully with these contrasting voices. The combination of Aviva Endean and David Wilfred’s evocative sounds transport the listener to previously unimagined sonic plains. Together the ensemble wields these mystical elements with a masterful improvisational touch that AAO is famous for.