This Friday will see the epic Jandamarra: Sing for the Country (Ngalanybarra Muwayi.u) – a dramatic cantata with music by Paul Stanhope and a libretto by Steve Hawke, written in association with the Bunuba people of the Kimberley who own the story – return to Sydney in a performance at the Sydney Town Hall. The landmark event is a collaboration between the Sydney Conservatorium Orchestra, Chamber Choir and Large Choir along with Sydney Children’s Choir and Sydney Philharmonia’s youth choir, VOX, as well as actors, singers and dancers from the Bunuba nation.

JandamarraEmmanuel Brown and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra performing Jandamarra in 2015. Photo © Jane Dempster

The cantata tells the story of Bunuba hero Jandamarra, who led a resistance war against white pastoralists in the Kimberley region in the late 19th century. A legend of the Bunuba people, the story of Jandamarra­ – “a Jalgangurru, a man bestowed with spiritual powers that flowed from the timeless law of our country, who could disappear, transform into a bird and shield himself from deadly weapons” – has been retold in film, theatre and now on the concert hall stage.

Emmanuel Brown, who performed the role of...