I do narrated slide shows about, among other things, my travels in Australia. While people regularly ask about how long the flight from Chicago is or when is the best time to go, I often get questions about Australia’s Aborigines — specifically, “what do they do?” It always interests me that some people seem to believe that the entire group will have made the same choices and have the same fate. I explain that, while some of the choices are not ones open to the general public (most specifically, living a traditional life on Aboriginal land), their education and career choices range almost as far and wide as those of any other people group. There are painters and actors and lawyers and professional tennis players and pretty much anything else you can imagine. Not too surprisingly, given the importance of singing in Aboriginal culture, a number have become professionals in this arena. Among these is Deborah Cheetham, an Australian Aborigine opera singer. Her voice is spectacular and she is very much at home on the world stage. A few years ago, for one of Australia’s most important holidays, the National Day of Mourning, Cheetham performed Australia’s national anthem, “Advance Australia Fair,” and I think it is a good introduction to the talent of this gifted woman.
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