Wongawilli Colonial
Dance Club Inc.

PO Box 17,
Albion Park,
NSW, 2527,
Ph. (61) 2 4257 1788
Fax (61) 2 4257 1787

Wongawilli Visit to
2005 Nanning International
Folk Song Arts Festival
Guangxi Province, China

19 October to 22 October 2005


The Wongawilli Band is based in the Illawarra region of New South Wales. The band has been in existence since 1987 and has now built up a world-wide reputation for presenting traditional Australian folk music and dance from its white settlers.

The recognition has come from a number of overseas tours and performances starting with a visit to the Australian Film Festival in Beijing in May 2004; a 30 day tour of Denmark, Sweden and Germany in June 2005 and more recently performances at the Nanning International Folk Song Arts Festival in the southwest Guangxi Province of China.

Welcome Dinner, 20 October. Band with hosts Alice and Sama. The band: Jason Roweth, Chloe Roweth, Jane Brownlee, Samuel De Santi, David De Santi, Tania De Santi, Graeme Murray, Reg Murray

The most recent trip to Nanning (18 to 22 October)was at the invite of the organisers along with performers from 20 other countries. Some of the other performers included the Vienna Boys Choir, the Academic Song and Dance Ensemble of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russian Federation (or Russian Army Choir)and groups from Austria, Turkey, Bulgaria, New Zealand, South Africa, France, Egypt, Italy, Canada, Iceland and a number of Asian countries.

The opening ceremony of the event at the Folk Song Sqaure had over 70,000 people watching and over 500 performers.

Nanning with a populatiuon of over 6.5 million is known as the 'Green City' with hundreds of floral displays, landscape architecture features and colourful tall buildings.

The festival was established in 1999 and was based upon a traditional celebration of folk song. "On the 3rd day of the 3rd lunar month the many groups in Guangxi gather at mountainsides and riversides to sing their songs of life, to make friends, show love and express their good wills for happy life."

Minzu Square, Festival mascots and large 'Love Balls', Nanning City

The festival was a series of concerts featuring local and international performers at 18 stages in the city and surrounding counties. Wongawilli played at the Binyang County Stage, Long'An County Stage, Minzu Square Stage and the Nanning Orient Foreign Language Collec Stage. Collectively there would easily have been over 20,000 people at these concerts!

The band was extremely well received presenting its lively versions of Australian folk songs. In particular Graeme Murray's beard was a favourite amongst photo hunters and also young Samuel De Santi, son of David, who played the Irish drum, the bodhran with the band. The band was also filmed by the BBC and will feature in a folk music series in the UK in April next year.

David said "It was the most amazing performances we have ever done! The sheer enthusiasm of the crowd and frenzy of the concerts was extraordinary. The people were beautiful and warm. Getting out of the city to the country stages was also a highlight. It really demonstrated a true world harmony through music and dance."

Binyang Country Stage with new friends, 20th October

Some more information from the official website:
Introduction of Nanning International Folk Song Arts Festival

There is a beautiful legend. The ancestor of Zhuang people is a tree, which is good at singing. The tree has sung for nine thousand nine hundred and ninety years. Every leaf of the tree resembles a song. When the leaf falls in a river, the river can sing a song, when the leaf flies in the wind, the wind can sing a song ..

Let the melodious folk songs,which have been sung continuously for 1,600 years, the brilliant sunshine of sub-tropical region, and the verdant greens draw you into this ancient but fresh city, Green City -Nanning.

Nanning becomes an outstanding city because of folk songs, and folk songs become well known because of Nanning. Artists from all over the world come one after another to attend this grand ceremony - Nanning International Arts Festival of Folks Songs. In this golden autumn, turn Nanning into the sea of joys! Let us look forward to the golden autumn of Nanning together.

Sponsored by Nanning Municipal People's Government, Nanning International Folk Song Festival is held every October in Nanning. The festival grew out of the Guangxi March 3 Sing & Dancing Festival. In 1993, the government of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, the then sponsor renamed it to Guangxi Folk Song Festival. From 1999 on, Nanning Municipal People's Government has been the sponsor of the festival and Nanning International Folk Song Arts Festival has become the official name ever since. Now the theme on the opening ceremony, Flying Songs on Earth has become a well-known chop all over the city.

Nanning International Folk Song Festival is mainly composed of theme events - culture, business and trade and tourism where the cultural event includes the Opening Evening, the Ocean of Songs, cultural activities, special performances, the 2002 added Chinese Folk Song Competition and the International Seminar on Festival Culture and City Economic Development to name just a few. Every year, domestic and international elites, famous top-profile singers and art groups are invited. The festival has, by the endeavor of the organizing committee and coteries both at home and abroad, become a platform for the influx and exchange center of arts of traditional, modern, national styles. A joyous song for the world indeed.

Being successfully held in four consecutive years, Nanning International Folk Song Arts Festival has been well recognised by the world. As the sole international folk song arts festival in the country and with its full-bodied ethnicity, diversity, strong sense of modern times and internationalism, it has also become one of China most influential cultural festivals. In April 2003, Nanning International Folk Song Festival was awarded famous Brand of China Tourism and Festival in 2002 by China Tourism News. When attending the 2002 International Seminar on Festival Culture and City Economic Development, former president of the world-renowned Grammy Recording Academy Mr. Michael Green gave a high appraisal to the festival as he put it: Nanning International Folk Song Festival had reached the resplendence that Grammy achieved in its early stage and it was possible in the future that musicians in the world would come to receive their awards in Nanning.

Page created by David De Santi, 31 October 2005, email:

Nanning Orient Foreign Language College Stage, band with a swag of 'Love Balls', escpecially Reg and Sam, 22 October

Binyang County Stage, 20 October

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