New Internationalist

RAN (Remote Area Nurse)

September 2006

Just as writing soundtracks for films is an art form in its own right, so too is writing for television. Both demand similar things: a music that aids the drama at hand as well as mirroring the visual activity on screen. Leitmotifs for characters, themes and places are essential. It’s this ‘indefinable sense of place’ that initially drew Australian composer David Bridie to Remote Area Nurse – RAN.

A series made for Australian television, RAN is set among the Torres Straits Islands and this location alone allows Bridie a generous scope in this soundtrack album. Soundtrack music has to move fast, and by this necessity the 23 tracks – from melodious songs and soft choral arrangement to purposeful drummings – are short. But it’s Bridie’s orchestration that’s so effective. Filled with sympathetically arranged settings of music and song indigenous to the Torres Straits, this becomes, as Bridie rightly says, a collaboration between himself and artists such as Albert David, Norah Bagira – who appears in the TV drama – and Ricardo ‘King Kadu’ Idagu among many others.

Bridie’s RAN music is not just a passing interest. A musician with a finger in many pies – his many projects include bands such as Not Drowning, Waving and My Friend The Chocolate Cake – he’s also recognized for a record of activism, in promoting both indigenous music and human rights. (His 2000 solo album, An Act of Free Choice, took a strong stand against Australia’s asylum policies.) Long interested in Melanesian music, Bridie traces the songlines from Papua New Guinea (one of RAN’s best bits is ‘Mambu’, written for PNG bamboo flute) to Australia, and the album fits together in a harmonious whole. The segues are beguiling: from the gentle ‘lama’ choral of ‘Kapu Ya Ujaremo’ to the feelgood quality of ‘Follow the Sun’, sung by Torres Strait legend Seaman Dan.

Louise Gray

This column was published in the September 2006 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

Comments on RAN (Remote Area Nurse)

Leave your comment


  • Maximum characters allowed: 5000
  • Simple HTML allowed: bold, italic, and links

Registration is quick and easy. Plus you won’t have to re-type the blurry words to comment!
Register | Login

...And all is quiet.

Subscribe to Comments for this articleArticle Comment Feed RSS 2.0

Guidelines: Please be respectful of others when posting your reply.

RAN (Remote Area Nurse) Fact File
Product information by David Bridie
Publisher Sound Vault
Product number SV0501 CD
Star rating3
Product link

Get our free fortnightly eNews


Videos from visionOntv’s globalviews channel.

Related articles

Recently in Music

All Music

Popular tags

All tags

This article was originally published in issue 393

New Internationalist Magazine issue 393
Issue 393

More articles from this issue

  • Shehab Uddin

    September 1, 2006

    The dignity of a poet resident at a senior citizen shelter in Kathmandu, Nepal, captured by Shehab Uddin.

  • Captive: how the ad industry pins us down

    September 1, 2006

    Dinyar Godrej sniffs at the bait being dangled by the ad biz.

  • Jesus is a brand of jeans

    September 1, 2006

    What is advertising? Jean Kilbourne on the gigantic propaganda effort and how it affects the way we think and feel.

New Internationalist Magazine Issue 436

If you would like to know something about what's actually going on, rather than what people would like you to think was going on, then read the New Internationalist.

– Emma Thompson –

A subscription to suit you

Save money with a digital subscription. Give a gift subscription that will last all year. Or get yourself a free trial to New Internationalist. See our choice of offers.