Moving homage to First Nations soldiers this Remembrance Day

Moving homage to First Nations soldiers this Remembrance Day
Image: Mark Atkins and James Morrison on top of the Sydney Opera House, 2022. Image: Garuwa/ Supplied

A new arrangement of the Last Post expands upon the historic bugle call, in order to directly honour Australia’s First Nations Soldiers. Performed by acclaimed didgeridoo player Mark Atkins and jazz virtuoso James Morrison AM, this enthralling performance will become available to stream online this Remembrance Day, November 11.

In 2020, alongside Atkins, Chelsy Atkins (Garrijimanha) and Ricky Bloomfield (Bear Mountain Productions) helped arrange and produce The Last Post – Winds of Change. The piece pairs the iconic infantry call with a “healing acknowledgement” through an echoing didgeridoo performance, Chelsy describes.

(L-R) Chelsy Atkins, Mark Atkins, James Morrison, and Ricky Bloomfield.
Image: Daniel Dray/Supplied

“The new arrangement is… a practical way of sharing the history of all our diggers serving together, inspiring a spirit of unity and respect within our communities moving forward,” Chelsy continued.

Atkins’ family has a long history serving within the Australian Armed Forces, including his Grandfather who served in the first world war as a machine gunner for 4 years.

Noting the lack of acknowledgement for returning Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander soldiers throughout the nations history, Atkins says, “This new arrangement was created to help ensure memories of the First Nations soldiers and ANZACs who fought side-by-side live on.”

Mark Atkins and James Morrison. Image: Garuwa/ Supplied

The performance from Atkins and Morrison was in collaboration with the Sydney Opera House, and filmed on top of the iconic sails in 2022. The film clip of The Last Post – Winds of Change will be available to stream through the Opera House’s streaming portal, this Remembrance Day.

The short film is set to magnificent backdrop of Sydney Harbour, alongside the impeccable performances by the renowned musicians. The arrangement with their respective instrumental mastery, provokes a passionate and heartfelt performance in honouring all service people.

“The wonderful thing about this project is that it’s not trying to replace anything,” said Morrison. “It’s bringing things together; a great tradition that’s already there with another much older tradition, and blending them, and it’s such a powerful message because of that.”

Image: Garuwa/Supplied

The arrangement is praised throughout various RSL and Services clubs across Australia for its powerful message of inclusion. CEO of the RSL & Services Clubs Association Margot Smith explains the “positive impact” it has had, helping people understand the “participation and service of Indigenous people in the Australian Defence Force and ancillary services.”

“This arrangement can sit alongside the traditional Last Post arrangement and is another important element in the commemorative toolbox,” Smith continued.

The Last Post (Winds of Change)

Available to stream from 7am Saturday, November 11

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