SONG LINES: Trent White with his children Shakaya and Latrell White listening to the song which is completely in Darumbal language.
SONG LINES: Trent White with his children Shakaya and Latrell White listening to the song which is completely in Darumbal language. Allan Reinikka ROK160617atrent1

Trent's singing in his mob's language

TRENT White never thought he'd be talking his people's lingo, let alone singing it.

But now the Darumbal man has written the first traditional language song for many hundreds of years.

It started off with Trent having a desire to learn the language.

And with eight years of guitar playing under his belt, Trent thought why not marry the two.

"I decided that I wanted to sing in my Darumbal language so I gave it a go and this is what happened,” Trent said.

"It's inspired by Gurrumul Yunupingu, who I listen to regularly, so he's kind of paved the way in singing the language by capturing a big audience around Australia and around the world.

"So I get a lot of confidence off him, singing in lingo.”

Trent put together the song, called Toonebah, through research and the help of family members.

"I just thought Toonebah was very central in Rockhampton, people pass it and go over it every day but to our people, the Darumbal people, it was a big life source back in the day so I wanted to sing about the ancestors and the river, which all people connect to in Rockhampton,” Trent said.

"I am not the greatest singer or the greatest guitarist but hopefully it will inspire someone else to learn language and if they want to express themselves even more or in a different way and I encourage them to do so.

"Hopefully with this song it encourages people of all ages to learn language.”

It seems Trent's song has perfect timing as well with this year's NAIDOC theme being "Our Languages Matter”.

"The theme this year is Our Languages Matter, so with this being the first time it's been sung in Darumbal language and with the theme you couldn't ask for a better setting,” Trent said.

"It's someone singing about the country and letting the trees and the land know language is still around and, while I'm here, it's not going to sleep, it's going to be woken up.

"That's what I intend to do is let the country hear that language again.”



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