Songs of Emzara

History often neglects ‘HerStory’, and the stories of The Great Flood were no exception. Indeed, it was Emzara who prophesied the Great Flood and saw the need for an Ark that could carry 2 members of as many species as possible to save them from certain extinction. But we know little of her story.

Emzara was a renowned singer and story teller. Even as a young child she was always very self-possessed and was often found conversing with animals, which made many people quite wary of her. Already at 4 years of age she rode wild horses and had no fear of any animal and they in turn had no fear of her. She communicated with animals through song and these songs were in turn passed on to her daughters, granddaughters and so on. These were the ‘Songs of Emzara’.

‘Songs of Emzara’ is a tribute to 16 species who at this moment struggle for their survival – the Indri Indri, the Black Crested Gibbon, Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo, Blakiston’s Fish Owl, the Booroolong Frog, the Blue throated Macaw ….to name a few. They are the characters that will take Centrestage, it is their voices that you will hear, voices that will touch your heart.

‘Songs of Emzara’ is performed by Lizzie O’Keefe and Linsey Pollak. They combine the human voice with the sounds of endangered animals. Linsey uses breath, lip pressure and fingering to play animal calls while Lizzie weaves her voice in and out of this musical landscape. The animal protagonists are present through their voices as well as in the still and moving images projected onto the performers.

The Creative Team

Linsey Pollak

Live looping endangered animal calls using midi wind controller

Cyli Sax

Set designer

Lizzie O’Keefe


Video editing