Document Type

Book Chapter


This chapter discusses the history and current diversity of contemporary Aboriginal music in Australia. Our use of the term "contemporary" is practical rather than universal or comprehensive. We would argue that attempts to define Aboriginal music through Western concepts such as "popular", "traditional" or "contemporary" are futile, and possibly damaging. Although we use the term "contemporary" as a way of generalising about postcolonial music, we are keen to avoid the implication that a dichotomy can be drawn between music deriving from the pre-colonial past and that of the present. Our position, resonant with that of many Aboriginal musicians, is that Aboriginal music is a thread of expression that has always been changing, and continues to do so. Divisions between the "traditional" and the "contemporary" are blurred (for further explanation, see Dunbar-Hall & Gibson 2004).