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Children's Ground Central Australia Announces First-ever Arrernte Language Children's Album

29 April 2023 | 11:15 am | Mary Varvaris

"We as First Nations people are creating resources for children in our own language."

(Pic by Damon van der Schuit)

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Ampe-kehne Ahelhe (Children's Ground Central Australia) has announced the very first children’s album to be released in Arrernte language, Ampe-mape Alyelheme (Kid’s Sing).

Ampe-mape Alyelheme will be released internationally on Friday, 18 August. You can listen to the double single, Tyerrtye Atyinhe (My Body) / Akaperte Pwerlepe (Heads Shoulders), released with a music video as well as a companion book, below.

Akaperte Pwerlepe has remixed the well-known nursery rhyme, Heads, Shoulders, Knees & Toes, providing a version sung in Eastern/Central Arrernte and English as well as an entirely Arrernte rendition.

Meanwhile, Tyerrtye Atyinhe (My Body) teaches children the different parts of their body in Arrernte language through an upbeat call-and-response dance tune.

Ampe-mape Alyelheme was created by Arrernte artists, families and educators during this International Decade of Indigenous Languages and aims to rectify the startling lack of children’s releases in their own language.

Work on the project began in 2021. Ampe-kehne Ahelhe and local artists, families and educators teamed up with former The Cat Empire vocalist Harry Angus and Emily Lubitz (Tinpan Orange) to write, learn, and record new educational Arrernte language music for children. The project has already attracted the support of The Wiggles and Emma Memma.

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First Nations educators at Children’s Ground commented about their intentions behind the release, “We want our little ones to see themselves reflected while they learn, so we have taken an old song and created our own version.”

Carol "CT" Turner, an Arrernte educator-turned-musician at Children's Ground, added, "Ampe-mape Alyelheme (Kid’s Sing) teaches and celebrates Arrernte language and culture through music. 

"We started this to keep our language strong, and it's grown into something everybody can enjoy and learn from. Join us to learn our language through our uplifting and catchy music!"

Turner continued, “At Ampe-kenhe Ahelhe (Children’s Ground Central Australia), we as First Nations people are creating resources for children in our own language. We have been writing children’s books and songs that speak about our culture, country, families and language. 

"We want our kids to grow up with music and educational resources that reflect their culture – that can help them to learn, respect, speak, read, write and sing in their First Language."