To hear, to listen, to know, to remember.

Introduction     Creators     Body of work     WMC     Publisher     Contacts


'The Breath of Life'. by Sara Smerdon. 2004.





To hear, to listen, to know, to remember.


Nederlands vertaling ?

Winanga-li is unusual, in that it is a project born from a mixing pot of artists,
a multi talented musical endeavour!
Three friends had the dream to compose a piece of music harnessing
the different skills each possesses.
Dutch composer and conductor, Hardy Mertens, of Kerkrade, Netherlands,
fathered the basic structure and arrangement of the piece; 
Australian composer Mark Smerdon, living on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara
Lands in the centre of Australia
, provided source material; 
and daughter, Australian artist Sara Smerdon, a resident of Belgium,
inspired with background information, feelings, thoughts, memories.
A collaborative effort, the world apart, but close in heart.

Pitjantjatjara Lands in the centre of Australia.     Photograph by Kathy Smerdon.

Winanga-li is inspired by Australia. Australia as Sara sees it and the Australia that
lives in Mark's melodies. It is also the dream of Australia, Hardy's European longing
for what is so unique to Mark and Sara's homeland. A longing which symbolizes humanity's yearning for the purity which can still be found in Australia. It leads you through Australia's wide open majestic spaces. Takes you to its raw and untamed landscapes overrun by wild insects and animals. Shares with you the harshness of outback Australian life, and the beauty of not only it's indigenous people's relationship with the land but also the respect all Australians develop for nature, basically through the endearing power of it in all their lives... Winanga-li holds migrant tales. With humour it waltzes you over baked earth in bare feet and a sari with an olive branch between your teeth! It also murmurs the tragic, shameful tale of conquest. We close our teary eyes to yet another sad loss of spiritual wisdom. The Aboriginals simple belief in life that we
(the modern man) squandered in our fight for land ownership, for power, for technology, for materialism, for self-gain, that one way is right, represents a truth for all humanity. Winanga-li reminds us of the beauty and simplicity in pure human nature. Of the interconnected life force in all nature. Australia taught this to us. The Australia that is young and old. A land that houses such diversity in culture and is filled with such essence of life. A land that has power over it's people, instead of a land that is controlled by it's people.

Winanga-li is the chant of Mother Nature's spirit.
Winanga-li is a call of hope.
A call for us to hear, to really listen, to know, and to remember...





Click on the photographs to meet....     

            Hardy Mertens               Mark Smerdon               Sara Smerdon



In 1998 Hardy and Sara first met. Over the years a great friendship was formed based on their deep respect for each others artistic beliefs and achievements. They have worked on quite a few projects together but never before to the extent of Winanga -li. Earlier involvements included Lourdes Maria ~ Honouring Madonna's child and Adagio, where Sara wrote poetry to accompany Hardy's music scores, and more importantly Wind and Tree, which introduced our third author to the scene. Hardy arranged one
Mark's compositions, originally written for piano solo in 1984, into a fully orchestrated score for wind band. Wind and Tree was played at the 2001 World Music Contest in the Netherlands, where Mark and Hardy finally met. Realizing at this point the great potential and joy in working as a threesome, planning began on the
foundations, which  brought Winanga-li into the world.
Click here for more information on our earlier projects together.



Special Instruments

Winanga-li is set apart from any other piece written for wind band,
by the use of some authentic Australian instruments.


Firstly, the
'rainstick' and the 'harmonic flute', hand crafted in the Adelaide Hills, by artist Jerome Lyons. Jerome's website, Tribal Instruments Australia, gives you more information regarding these unique and soulful intstruments.... 
Click on his logo below for the link.


Other instruments important to the unique colour of the Winanga-li sound are the authentic aboriginal
'clapsticks' created especially for us by 
Billy Cooley and
Stanley Douglas.
Clap Sticks are the traditional percussion instrument of all
Aboriginal people providing rhythmic accompaniment for song and dance. They
consist of two sticks crafted from various woods and are often intricately decorated. Most commonly used during corroborees and social dancing, clap sticks are played
 by striking one against the other to provide particular rhythms. It is often the only instrument used to accompany singing and is played by both men and women.



Body of work


Remember that the words you read in this website give an impression of
as seen through Sara’s eyes, founded on childhood memories growing up
in Victoria and South Australia, from travels throughout the land,
from research on Aboriginal culture, and also drawn from a comparison made possible from travelling through many other countries and experiencing daily life in other cultures.
It is not necessarily the absolute
present day reality for all Urban Australians.
The impressions given are strongly laced
with the personal beliefs that are a big
part of Sara’s personality. So as much as you
are given an insight into Australia,
you are also allowed an intimate look into Sara’s


To hear, to listen, to know, to remember.

Movement I : The Breath of Life
Movement II : Sara's Soul
Movement III : Rainbow Dance
Movement IV : The Dawn of Winanga-li




The process of creating Winanga-li


Growing up in Australia


Photo gallery

Giving an impression of central Australia.



WMC 2005


Logo WMC Kerkrade
Held every four years, the World Music Contest in Kerkrade
has become thé major international band festival in the world.
In 2005 Winanga-li was chosen by the Lao Silesu band from
Samassi, Sardinia, Italy, as the highlight of their competition performance in the highest category, the concert division.
Musical Association 'Stanislao Silesu'


Photo highlights from WMC performance









Sara Smerdon:


Hardy Mertens:


Mark Smerdon:


Louis Martinus:


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Sara Smerdon © 2011