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Ted Billy interviewed by William Kepa in the Torres Strait songs project [sound recording]
Bib ID 4362698
Format AudioAudio [sound recording]
Billy, Ted, 1957-, Interviewee
Access Conditions Access open for research, personal copies and public use. 
Description 2007 Sept. 26 
1 sound file (ca. 25 min.) 

Torres Strait songs project.


Ted Billy has lived on Warraber Island all his life. He talks about his first memories of music and dance at school; Torres Strait Islander (TSI) birthday and weddings parties; dances and celebrations for school; learning music and dance from his parents who were role models for the TSI culture; his uncles and community leaders role in teaching TSI culture; the stories told in songs being mostly about the environment; lugger songs; singing bringing joy, keeping him in contact with the story within a song and why it was written; songs bringing healing via spiritual contact with nature; songs being written mostly by men; church music; women singing songs; playing the warup drum and guitar; his love of music.

Billy discusses the Islanders learning to sing, dance and play instruments; skills being handed down; how the music and dance has changed over the years, mainly due to kids leaving the island for school; the loss of language having a big impact; understanding kala lagaw ya language but not being able to speak it well; the Torres Strait Regional Authority music and dance project helping to preserve culture; encouraging Elders to share their knowledge; the role of Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) to encourage preservation of cultural knowledge; the studio recording and being pleased with the finished product; being glad for opportunity to document cultural knowledge for future generations.


Ted Billy, is a Torres Strait islander who is a employee of the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service, the current Chairperson of the Island Council and a singer-songwriter.


Recorded on September 26, 2007 on Warraber Island, Qld.

Digital master available National Library of Australia;

The interview is conducted in English and Torres Strait Creole.

Index/Finding Aid Note Timed summary available. 
Subjects Billy, Ted, 1957- -- Interviews.  |  Musicians -- Queensland -- Torres Strait Islands.  |  Torres Strait Islanders -- Music.  |  Torres Strait Islands (Qld.) -- Social life and customs.  |  Torres Strait Islands (Qld.) -- Languages.
Occupation Musicians.  |  Public servants
Other authors/contributors Kepa, William, 1982-, Interviewer  |  Torres Strait Regional Authority


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    Details Collect From
    ORAL TRC 5728/10
    Copy: Recording
    Special Collections Reading Room
    ORAL TRC 5728/10 (summary)
    Copy: Summary
    Special Collections Reading Room

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    Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and other First Nations people are advised that this catalogue contains names, recordings and images of deceased people and other content that may be culturally sensitive. Please also be aware that you may see certain words or descriptions in this catalogue which reflect the author’s attitude or that of the period in which the item was created and may now be considered offensive.