Stompin’ the Ground with Kylie Kain

Kylie Kain is the winner of the best original category of our Sing Loud! competition. Her song, ‘Stompin’ the Ground’, sung with a crew of friends, was chosen by Delta Goodrem and Gurrumul as the winner. Below she answers some questions we asked about music, reconciliation and the future.

1. Tell us about yourself/the group you entered with:

My name is Kylie Kain. I’m a mother of three and live and work on a cattle farm south of Adelaide. I study engineering via correspondence and play music.

My inspirational team include Kim O’Donnell; a long-time friend and Malyangapa/ Barkindji woman; her cousin Nola Whyman and nieces Ashum Owen and Sherice Ansell. Owen Love is a Ngarrindjeri man, didgeridoo player and musician/performer in his own right. Julianne Cole is a friend and mentor I have been singing with for over 20 years. The men behind the scenes were Russell Robertson, Gyula Kovacs and Jake Berry who helped out with the technical side and comedy relief during takes.

2. Have you had any experience in music industry?

I’ve been writing and performing music for the last twenty years. I recently released my second album ‘Things That Float’ and am for the first time performing with a band, which I love.

I have spent many years writing songs as a form of outreach and expression with many different groups of people including; homeless youth, dementia patients, Indigenous Australians, new Australians, young mothers and youth struggling with mainstream education. The music made provided people in disadvantaged positions with a voice to express their lived realities, viewpoints and to workshop practical ways forward from their perspectives. I feel privileged to be trusted with their stories and to construct the music together- work that is a rewarding and enriching experience.

I have won a couple of national awards in the past; the 2008 Port Fairy Folk Festival’s ‘Peace Song’ for a song ‘Hold Hands’ from my first album (Echoes From a Little Room) and the 2011 Australian Songwriters Association’s (ASA) Song writing Competition with a song called ‘Gold’, also from my first album.

3. What inspired you to enter Sing Loud!?

Kim asked me to enter this competition. I had written a song for her in the past about her missing sister Amelia Hausia. Kim is hugely encouraging of my music and promotes it wherever she can. Her enthusiasm, her struggles and her vision for the future has been incredibly powerful to bear witness to. The actual lyrics formed from numerous conversations with Kim.

I wanted this song to be one of hope and determination, a way forward; that could lift spirits and is easy to sing along to. Owen and I had been discussing the life and work of David Unaipon, and the verse regarding the keys of the piano and harmonizing came directly from his ethos and message. Julianne and I also discussed at length what it means to reconcile; how this can be achieved. We took from the bible the concept of stomping the ground from the story of Jericho. All these ideas were mulled over in a couple of weeks and the song literally fell out of my mouth.

The greater inspiration we hope for is- that we will witness the majority of Australians voting yes to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Straight Island peoples in the Australian constitution and to the removal of the section that says people can be banned from voting based on race. If this song can bring people together towards this goal, then this is our small contribution.

4. How does your song represent reconciliation?

This song was collaboratively made and collectively performed as can be seen from the clip. The joy of singing it together followed by the joy of its success is shared by each of us. This is an example of reconcile-action.

5. What do you hope to do in the future to further reconciliation through music?

All things in my mind are about relationships; acknowledging where each other have been and what we have experienced. To share knowledge and stories ultimately builds bridges and disarms fear. Music is a wonderful tool to do that with, and my intention would be to keep sharing stories through song.

Paul House with gum leaves and smoke
Paul Girrawah House

Paul Girrawah House has multiple First Nation ancestries from the South-East Canberra region, including the Ngambri-Ngurmal (Walgalu), Pajong (Gundungurra), Wallabollooa (Ngunnawal) and Erambie/Brungle (Wiradyuri) family groups.

Paul acknowledges his diverse First Nation history, he particularly identifies as a descendant of Onyong aka Jindoomang from Weereewaa (Lake George) and Henry ‘Black Harry’ Williams from Namadgi who were both multilingual, essentially Walgalu-Ngunnawal-Wiradjuri speaking warriors and Ngunnawal–Wallaballooa man William Lane aka ‘Billy the Bull’ - Murrjinille.

Paul was born at the old Canberra hospital in the centre of his ancestral country and strongly acknowledges his First Nation matriarch ancestors, in particular his mother Dr Aunty Matilda House-Williams and grandmother, Ms Pearl Simpson-Wedge.

Paul completed a Bachelor of Community Management from Macquarie University, and Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage and Management from CSU.

Paul provided the Welcome to Country for the 47th Opening of Federal Parliament in 2022. Paul is Board Director, Ngambri Local Aboriginal Land Council, Member Indigenous Reference Group, National Museum of Australia and Australian Government Voice Referendum Engagement Group.  

Paul works on country with the ANU, First Nations Portfolio as a Senior Community Engagement Officer

Acknowledgement of Country

Reconciliation Australia acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing  connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website contains images or names of people who have passed away.

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