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Hip hop beat for new National Museum stories

16 JULY 2004

The lives and places, slang and speech of young Australians will be captured using hip hop in a new storytelling venture by the National Museum of Australia.

Hip hoppers Morganics and MC Wire will visit seven regional communities across Australia, to record and mix original rap songs from students taking part in 2004 Croc Festival.

The songs - complete with music videos - will be donated to the students' schools, showcased in an online National Museum gallery and incorporated in its growing oral history collection.

"We're hoping to capture the energy and experience of these kids, to record their transformation of everyday life into contemporary performance pieces," said National Museum project coordinator Adam Blackshaw.

Croc Festival - a series of performing arts festivals for young people in rural and remote communities - kicks off in Weipa next Tuesday, 20 July and travels to Katherine, Derby, Geraldton, Port Augusta, Swan Hill and ends in Moree on 23 September.

This is the first year the National Museum has left its Canberra base to join the travelling Croc Festival show.

The Museum brought Morganics on board after the success of his Evolve CD, his show at the Message Sticks Festival last month, work with the Wilcannia Mob and his years teaching hip hop in community centres, theatre, schools and jails.

"Hip hop gives a voice to people, the power to express their identity", said Morganics. "It's a chance for people to speak their own lingo, to acknowledge their history, where they've come from and where they're going."

More than 3000 students across the Australian tour will join the workshops with Morganics and MC Wire. Artist Finton Mahoney will produce the music videos accompanying the songs.

"The National Museum regularly reaches out to regional communities with its travelling and web-based exhibitions and programs," said Mr Blackshaw. "This time we're encouraging kids to get creative and share their stories with an audience which extends well beyond Croc Festival - and Canberra."

The Museum's indigenous educator, Trish Albert, is also joining the Croc Festival national tour, introducing students to some of the stories and treasures of the National Museum - and career opportunities in Australian museums and galleries.

For interviews, images or more information please contact Leanda Coleman at the National Museum on 02 6208 5338, 0438 620 710 or l.coleman@nma.gov.au