The haunting refrain of The Last Post is one full of emotion and significance, calling on listeners to pause and reflect on the service and sacrifice so many have made during times of war.
This Remembrance Day, the world-renowned bugle call will have even more depth to its message thanks to a collaboration between Australian jazz virtuoso James Morrison and First Nations didgeridoo player Mark Atkins, and Mark's Bega Valley family.
The emotive arrangement blending Morrison's bugle with Atkins' didgeridoo has been years in the making and a passion project of Mark, his daughter Chelsy Atkins and son-in-law Ricky Bloomfield.
The Last Post (Winds of Change) has been released just in time for Remembrance Day services across the country - and in keeping with its message of unity, it has been made freely available for communities and organisations nationwide to download and play at services.
A film clip accompanying The Last Post (Winds of Change) - which was created in collaboration with the Sydney Opera House in 2022 - will go live to view from 7am Saturday, November 11, available on Sydney Opera House's platform.
The special footage features Atkins and Morrison playing The Last Post on top of the sails of the Sydney Opera House as the sun rises over the harbour.
Acknowledging unity, respecting tradition
Over a coffee in their home and studio at 'Bear Mountain', Wallagoot, on the NSW Far South Coast, they spoke of their pride in what had been achieved, and for Mark's commitment to acknowledging the Indigenous voice among Australia's service personnel
"Dad is already this amazing champion for Indigenous voices and acknowledgment through what he does with the didge," Chelsy said.
"But for that to now translate into this piece of The Last Post that he has been thinking of for over 60 years, it's just absolutely incredible to be a part of that with him and help make that happen."
Chelsy said that as a young boy, her father had recognised at Anzac Day ceremonies the role of Indigenous soldiers was distinctly lacking, a question of acknowledgement that stuck with him into adulthood
"It wasn't until much later on after he was successful with the didgeridoo and was playing a lot, he was messing around with this idea to play notes instead of just a drone, and he played these notes and it sounded a lot like The Last Post.
"So that's sort of where the idea came from where he was like, 'oh, I'd like to do something with this'.
"We like to call it a healing acknowledgment for all all First Nations people out there," she said.
"But also we went that little bit further of not just thinking of the past and that healing acknowledgment moving forward for First Nations, but also making sure it's a piece that's representative of the unity that existed on the battlefield between First Nations and Australian Diggers.
"So really what the piece represents is that opportunity for unity and healing moving forward."
The wonderful thing about this project is that its not trying to replace anything, its bringing things together; a great tradition thats already there with another much older tradition, and blending them, and its such a powerful message because of that- James Morrison AM
Project manager Chelsy and audio engineer Ricky said the new arrangement of such an iconic and loved piece was not designed to be a replacement at Anzac Day and Remembrance Day services, but a way for communities to engage with an evolving conversation about how to best acknowledge the roles of First Nations people in our defence forces.
"Australia is ready for something like this now," Chelsy said.
"I was talking about acknowledging the First Nations, but also amongst this you've got to realise the pain that Australian Diggers went through by the fact of them not being able to gather with their Indigenous mates and brothers when they got home as well.
"So equally it would have been quite a challenging and heartbreaking and difficult time for them to not be able to do that because they were brothers over there, but when they came home, they were told to be separated.
"The healing acknowledgement stretches beyond the First Nations. It's the Australian and First Nations Diggers as a whole, and their families."
New way to record didgeridoo
Ricky said he enjoyed the opportunity to get creative in recording Mark's didgeridoo playing for the project, even developing a new method he dubbed the 'Vibe Mic'.
"I put a lot of hours into how I wanted it to sound, and thinking about how good can I make this sound, and how can I record the didge in a way that's never been done before," Ricky said.
"I came up with a mad, crazy idea to record the didge coming up through the floorboards."
Mark is an early pioneer of the didge and I know he's broken new ground on the instrument before. When I heard him play these notes for the first time and treat the didge like a melodic instrument, I knew we were doing something special.- Ricky Bloomfield
Ricky placed microphones in specially designed casings at points on the floor away from where the end of Mark's didgeridoo rested.
Along with 10 separate microphones and a full stereo image of the unique sound produced by Mark's didge, Ricky said his 'vibe mics' were able to "pick up the vibrations and overtones coming up through the floorboards as an extension of the instrument".
"That was the first time that's been done before in the recording of a didgeridoo," he said.
"It's added warmth, body, overtones and depth [to the sound]."
Just the beginning for The Last Post
Both Chelsy and Mark said this week's release of The Last Post was "just the beginning".
"It should've been done a long time ago," Mark said. "But there's no time like the present."
Chelsy added to that saying while this week saw their completed project released to the public, there was much more to come.
"Remembrance Day is all about getting it out to all corners of the nation so they know this project exists, this resource exists, and start to plant the idea of this evolving into questioning how do we do things as a community and a nation."
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Chelsy said to see the project come to fruition was a time full of emotion.
'It's been really amazing, it's been fun, it's been moving and touching and rewarding - there are so many feelings.
"It has engulfed so much, so many different emotions and responses for us, but also for everyone we've shared it with already."
The Last Post - Winds of Change is available to download from thelastpost.au, where you can also find out more about The Last Post First Nations Inclusion Project.