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Development   /  Cathy Cole

Morning Star

Yidaki custodian Larry Gurruwiwi is on a mission to share ancient songlines with the modern world, and show it's power.


Impact areas






  • DIRECTOR Ben Strunin

  • PRODUCER Cathy Cole



Morning Star is the sequel to 2017’s Westwind: Djalu’s Legacy. We reconnect with the Gurruwiwi family, Larry Gurruwiwi is now a custodian of Galpu traditions and songlines. His ageing father, Djalu, a master yidaki player & elder, devoted his life to maintaining songline customs. He believes the sound of the yidaki, is a bridge between cultures. He has encouraged his sons, Larry, Vernon & Jason, to travel to Europe and continue to share their clan’s songlines.
Taking up his father’s cause and becoming a steward of the knowledge is a heavy responsibility. The challenge is compounded by the fact he has only recently recovered from debilitating depression, and there are questions over whether or not he’s up to the task.
Through their travels they meet captivated audiences as they play the famed WOMAD UK, and other performances in England, Wales, Prague and France. Stop by stop, they gather proof that the power of songlines is alive & well, a message they can take home to Arnhem Land.

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1.16% funded
  • $150,000.00

  • $1,740.00

  • 15

Minimum amount is $ Maximum amount is $





Craig Cole $100.00
Lore Schierlitz $500.00
Abby Bandianna $50.00
Anonymous $50.00
Thommen Beni $50.00
Stefano Spoto $20.00
Jeffrey Weaver $50.00
Kapil Arora $100.00
Paul Cook $450.00
Leigh Stone $70.00
Leigh Stone $50.00
Chris Wichmann $100.00
Natacha Nalin $50.00
Madeline Beisel $30.00
Previous donations 2 donors $70.00

Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

This film will tackle generational disinterest in the practice & preservation of sacred traditions of Yolngu people. Djalu succeeded in engaging the next generation to keep the tribe’s rituals alive, and now the baton is squarely in Larry’s hands as he steps up to the role of custodian. This film will support Larry in his quest to engage the next generation & show his people that the old and new world can coexist harmoniously, and that their culture is globally celebrated.
Indigenous health and traditional healing practices will also be a focus, this film will endeavour to shift attitudes towards traditional healing by exploring the benefits of traditional vibrational sound ceremonies through medical research sessions with Hammersmith Hospital. Depression and anxiety is prevalent in Arnhem Land, and plagues the wider Indigenous community. This film will explore Larry’s recovery as a means to empower him and his community to take the stigma out of talking about mental health issues.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

We want our film to create a sense of pride in the Yolngu people, and inspire the next generation to want to keep their traditions alive, and re-evaluate the power and relevance of Indigenous culture not only in Australia, but globally. Through this film we want to reach audiences worldwide to educate them on Indigenous culture and share the challenges and successes of keeping the world’s oldest surviving culture alive and unbroken through the generations.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

We want this documentary to encourage audiences to re-evaluate the power and relevance of Indigenous culture in Australia.
We want domestic and international audiences to come away with a broader understanding of indigenous traditions, culture and Galpu healing practices.
Through the medical research we hope that long term outcomes will include more integration of Indigenous healing practices into Western medical practices.
We hope that by following Larry and his brothers on their journey that they will feel validated and supported in their roles as ambassadors for Yolngu culture, and will continue to proudly share their songlines, knowledge and healing techniques with the world. Ultimately, we want for Larry to inspire his sons to continue the generational passing down of knowledge, and for this knowledge to be widely available so Djalu and Larry's messages of unity, the land and healing can bring cultures together for the betterment of mankind.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

Recording Djalu and Larry’s stories for future generations can be achieved through our relationship with the Mulka Community Arts Center. They have archived and translated footage of Djalu’s stories from the Westwind shoot which are accessible to the community, and we will continue to record , translate and archive stories and songlines captured for this project also.
The Imperial Hospital in London is conducting medical research with multiple patients suffering from cardiovascular issues. Larry will perform traditional vibrational healing techniques used by the Galpu clan, and the findings will be published. Imperial Hospital have been a great support to us, by arranging these sessions in kind. It is our hope that through this research the healing power that Yolngu people have practiced for millennia will now be understood by Westerners.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

Our aim will be for the audience to come away with an invigorated sense of pride and hope for Aboriginal culture. We hope that this ancient culture is demystified for Balanda (non Aboriginal) audiences and members of the public can become engaged in Larry's journey via social media, as these platforms create a sense of connection which Larry and his community can tap into and see the public support in real time. This will inspire them to continue teaching the next generation about traditional practices and prove to Yolngu youth that their culture is respected globally.
We hope that medical research groups are inspired to continue testing and researching the health benefits of vibrational sound healing, with the hope that these practices are integrated into modern medicine treatment plans in the future.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

Ultimately, Larry being able to hand down the custodianship to one of his sons is our most coveted key indicator that our impact vision has been achieved. This is a very long term goal but through regular engagement and check-ins with the Gurruwiwi family and continuing to support Larry on his mission, we can track his impact on his community.
By tracking ticket sales, social media statistics and media coverage we can gauge public reception. Creating a study guide for students and engaging an impact producer to introduce the film into secondary and tertiary curriculum, we can ensure the younger generations will learn and support Yolngu culture.
If the medical research is classified a success, we can track the increase of medical research papers being releases on vibrational sound healing techniques in the future.