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Samuel Wagan Watson: Smoke Encrypted Whispers

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Samuel Wagan Watson: Smoke Encrypted Whispers
Samuel Wagan Watson: Smoke Encrypted Whispers


Smoke Encrypted Whispers is a sequence of 23 poems by the leading Australian indigenous poet Samuel Wagan Watson that pairs the Brisbane-born writer's texts with succinct musical commentaries - part reflection, part response - by 23 of the poet's Brisbanite composer peers.

What results - in a performance by the musicians of Southern Cross Soloists interspersed with readings of the individual poems by the distinguished Australian actor Ron Haddrick - is a variegated tapestry given cohesion and coherence by the multiple interwoven threads of Watson's words. Smoke Encrypted Whispers presents tales of the poet's own interior dreamtime and depth of feeling to produce a vivid and touching picture of growing up in suburban Brisbane.

While offering one revealing insight after another into the spirituality of displaced indigenous experience in contemporary urban Australia, Watson's poetry taps into a potent mythology that predates the settled history of the continent - as well alluding to the fears, heartbreaks, hopes and humour that are universal rather than isolated qualities. Through it, we are invited into a magical universe veiled behind the obfuscating layers of our mundane existence.

The 23 composers are Tom Adeney, Damian Barbeler, William Barton, Betty Beath, Gerard Brophy, Lisa Cheney, Peter Clarke, Stephen Cronin, Robert Davidson, Paul Dean, Louis Denson, John Gilfedder, Ralph Hultgren, Michael Knopf, Stephen Leek, Mary Mageau, Freeman McGrath, Richard Mills, Sean O'Boyle, Peter Rankine, Marianne Scholem, Stephen Stanfield and Toby Wren.

Personnel: Southern Cross Soloists, Ron Haddrick (narrator)


  1. Name
  2. Smoke Signals
  3. Smoke Signals
  4. Tigerland
  5. Tigerland
  6. Scared of the Dark
  7. Scared of the Dark
  8. Wecker Road
  9. Wecker Road
  10. Cribb Island
  11. Cribb Island
  12. Capalaba
  13. Capalaba
  14. Rip
  15. Rip
  16. Smoke Water
  17. Smoke Water
  18. Author's Notes #1
  19. Author's Notes #1
  20. Darkroom
  21. Darkroom
  22. Fisherman Islands
  23. Fisherman Islands
  24. Paper Trails to Midnight
  25. Paper Trails to Midnight
  26. Author's Notes #2
  27. Author's Notes #2
  28. Ghosts of Boundary Street
  29. Ghosts of Boundary Street
  30. Dog Tired Tune
  31. Dog Tired Tune
  32. When I Crossed the Ditch
  33. When I Crossed the Ditch
  34. Author's Notes #3
  35. Author's Notes #3
  36. The Dust Company
  37. The Dust Company
  38. From Boundary Street, West End to the Berlin Wall, East Germany
  39. From Boundary Street, West End to the Berlin Wall, East Germany
  40. Snapshots
  41. Snapshots
  42. Aunty Grey Smoke
  43. Aunty Grey Smoke
  44. Author's Notes Conclusion
  45. Author's Notes Conclusion
  46. Revolver
  47. Revolver
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