Restless Dream

August 27th, 2021 / P171 / P1/ABC Records/Sony

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Restless Dream is a collaboration between Brisbane band Halfway and Kamileroi elder Bob Weatherall, with William Barton. In 2015, they began to work on the writing and recording of an album of songs/stories.

Aboriginal ancestral remains and secret, sacred objects are scattered across the globe, in museums both overseas and in Australia. In Aboriginal religious law, there will be no spiritual peace until the dead have been returned to the place of their birth and received their last rites in accordance with their traditions.

This album tells the story of the Repatriation of Aboriginal Ancestral Remains. Restless Dream is a very personal story, yet it touches all Aboriginal Nations as they grapple with the task of repatriation and reburial, just as it acknowledges those who have taken on the task of uncovering the past and advocating for the Rights of the Dead.

Bob and William are both friends of Halfway. Bob used to come to band practices, to listen to us play, and to share the summer nights and his stories.

“My ears sought out Bob’s words in the dark, the stories of his work: travelling to the other side of the earth; the arrogance and thievery of scientists and protectors; the overwhelming emotion of this job. A job which chose him. A tricky job, full of negotiation, responsibility, righteous successes and disheartening failures. And he was burdened with an overwhelming question: Who is going to carry this work on?” John Willsteed, Halfway, producer

“We have a responsibility to uphold the fundamental rights of the dead to return to the lands of their birth, and to be given customary last rites in accordance with their culture and beliefs. Restless Dream will help to put an end to the injustices of the past in the true spirit of reconciliation and justice.” Bob Weatherall, writer and performer

The album was recorded at QUT in Brisbane in 2016, by Yanto Browning (Kate Miller-Heidke/Art of Sleeping) and mixed in South Carolina by Mark Nevers (Yo La Tengo/Bonnie “Prince” Billy/Lambchop/Jason Isbell). It is a blend of songs, stories and instrumentals; like a Halfway album and then some. The album will be performed for the Brisbane Festival in September 2021.

Restless Dream has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council and supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.