Maralinga Lament | Ruthless Jabiru

Maralinga Lament | Ruthless JabiruPhotos – Kelly Lovelady

The idea of an all-Australian chamber orchestra in the UK shouldn’t be strange. After all, there are thousands of Australians living and working in the UK and it seems fitting that a concert entitled Maralinga Lament should be conducted and performed by those who call Australia home.

Kelly Lovelady, an Australian conductor in London is the founding director of all-Australian chamber orchestra Ruthless Jabiru. She is both a cultural ambassador for Australian and a campaigner for recognition for Australian artists.

The recent concert given at the Union Chapel was a programme that resonated with the Australian landscape, the trauma and tragedies suffered by the land her and peoples in the region of Maralinga, in South Australia. Not often publicized in an international arena, this stunningly evocative stretch of desert country was the site of atomic testing for a devastating period of twelve years, and is unfortunately a fact that most Australians are still unaware.

The stories of Maralinga need to be told, shared and acknowledged and while there are no Indigenous Australians amongst the orchestra members currently, Lovelady is quite passionate about ensuring that the stories told through music are also shaped and responded to by those who are affected at its source.

Nevertheless, the music conducted by Lovelady and performed by a brilliant company included the European premiere of Matthew Hindson’s Maralinga; a highly nuanced and finely executed piece that gave space and breath to the highly emotionally charged landscape that continues to bear witness to ongoing consequences of the fallout. Other highlight included Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings and Arvo Pärt’s Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten both of which were particularly powerful producing exquisite tones within the acoustics of the chapel.

Canadian soloist Lara St. John was also a powerful performer, her technique exceptional and she demonstrated her virtuosity with unrestrained passion giving the evening’s performance some unforgettable moments.

What was particularly poignant was that amidst the European traditional instruments of violins, violas, cellos, bass and percussion instruments the sounds of the didjeridu were resonant, potent and heard. The space was an ideal choice, with the stage being the perfect size for the orchestra and the perfect amplifications to be heard throughout the chapel.

An evolving company it is hoped that Ruthless Jabiru will explore and develop its Australian identity as it continues to share Australian stories with the rest of the world.


Ruthless Jabiru presents
Maralinga lament

Conductor Kelly Lovelady

Venue: Union Chapel | Compton Ave, London
Date: 14 October, 2013
Visit: ruthlessjabiru.com

Most read reviews

West Side Story

In any field there are the standards, the yardstick by which all others in that arena are measured and in musical theatre – many regard West Side Story as that benchmark.

Cold Lasagne Hate Myself 1999 | James Acaster

You may have seen him on Netflix with his quirky style and very well crafted material. If you come with expectations you won't be disappointed but perhaps a little surprised. Because this time Acaster is a bad ass!

Not Quite White | Vanessa Steinberg

Steinberg opens with a long, graphic diatribe about dating as a 53-year-old serial divorcee with a history of drug use and adversity to working for a living.

Go Solo | Paul McDermott and Gatesy

If you’re a fan of a particular muso or comic, you’ve probably wondered what they’re like at home or with their mates. Tripod and DAAS fans now have that option. At least occasionally.

Wil-Informed | Wil Anderson

Wil is now 45 and it’s time for the middle-aged, white, hetero men to have their say! This threatened species needs to reclaim its position in the world and find its voice.

Most read news

Jane Bodie Wins 2019 Lysicrates Prize for Playwriting

Playwright Jane Bodie has been announced as the winner of the 2019 Lysicrates Prize for her play Tell Me You Love Me.

Ian Potter Southbank Centre opens to students and staff

More than 1000 students and staff have moved into the new state-of-the-art Ian Potter Southbank Centre, home to the new Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.

Sign up for our newsletter

* indicates required