The lights fade in the Concert Hall of the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) and, for a few seconds, the audience sits in the silent darkness. They start to hear the chanting of a 35-piece choir from far off stage. It comes closer and closer, and eventually demands the viewers’ attention as they enter from stage right. What a powerful way to commence the night’s performance!

Central Australian Aboriginal Women's Choir

The Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir with its Artistic Director and conductor Morris Stuart. Photo © Darren Thomas

You could not describe the fullness, or intensity in the sound that the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir (CAAWC) makes. It’s not a gospel choir (despite the many references to God in the music they choose). It’s not an opera chorus (despite their ‘ping’ like sound quality). It’s a choir formed by women (and three men), all from Western Arrernte and Pitjantjatjara speaking communities (from Ntaria/Hermannsburg, Areyonga, Titjikala, Mutitjulu, Kaltukatjara/Docker River and Mparntwe/Alice Springs). It’s a choir like no other in the world; and it’s the hottest thing to ever set foot at QPAC. If you closed your eyes, you would trick...