“Marrin Gamu” is a body parts song for primary school children and a web resource, created to introduce Australians to the diversity and beauty of our first languages. The song was designed as a tool with which educators could make contact with their local language group and establish the relationships required to create a local version.
The words ‘Marrin’ and ‘Gamu’ mean ‘body’ in the Kalaw Kawaw Ya (Torres Strait) and Wiradjuri (NSW) languages.
A video clip of the song, featuring language from Kalaw Kawaw Ya, Wiradjuri, Yugambeh, Warrgamay and Nywaygi, is available on the website at www.marringamu.com.au. To date, this video clip has been viewed by more than 60,000 people. The website also contains a series of curriculum linked activities for use in primary and early childhood classrooms. Teachers can use the activities to teach about Australia’s first languages while they are teaching English, History, Maths, Geography, Science or Health & Physical education classes.
Schools implementing local Indigenous language programs can also use the resources, thereby helping their teaching colleges better integrate the language learning across school programs.
In 2016 and 2017, an exciting collaboration with ABC Splash saw the project promoted to schools nationally through the Indigenous Languages Song Competition. The competition encourages community consultation and engagement by translating the English words of the song into the local Indigenous language. The ABC enthusiastically supported the competition and a number of extended stories on the event were broadcast.
In total, 60 entries were received, with more than 2000 students participating. Each group sang the “Marrin Gamu” song in their local language and it was clear that a huge amount of work had gone into each of the entries.
The 2016 winning entry was Alknge Irlpe, contributed by Yipirinya School in the Northern Territory. As prize winners, the school won the opportunity for a professional production team to film the students performing their version of the song.
The 2017 winners were Marrin Gamu in Noongar contributed by Penrhos College Junior School in Western Australia, and Dillee Walloo contributed by Woorabinda State School in Queensland. In addition to receiving prizes, these winning entries were broadcasted on ABC Me.
Further information about the competition can be found on the ABC Education website at http://education.abc.net.au/home#!/competition/2553441/indigenous-language-song-competition-2018
New language versions continue to be made and shared. Schools and community language groups are encouraged to promote their language by submitting a video via the Marrin Gamu website.
First Languages Australia promotes and encourages the use of these tools in all classrooms and Indigenous language programs.
Students at Yipirinya speak a number of different languages at home. Many students are familiar with more than one Indigenous language, therefore we decided to learn the song in three of the main languages spoken in Central Australia and taught at the school. Students, classroom teachers and Indigenous language teachers worked together to translate and learn the song in Arrernte, Warlpiri and Luritja.