Melbourne-based singer-songwriter Sarah Mandie has invited girls and women from Wodonga, Boroondara and the Yarra Ranges to collaborate on an empowering new community music project. During a series of workshops, participants will learn a dance routine to Mandie’s original “That Girl”, then perform in a music video.
Mandie composed the song in response to the murder of two girls in India in 2014, the alleged perpetrators of which were not charged.
“It made me think about my girls, their futures and their safety, which then extends out to all girls, from all countries,” Mandie, who has two daughters with her Indian husband, told Community Music Victoria. “I was so angry and upset, I wanted to do something that would make a difference … I thought it would be really good to write a song that talked about those issues, a song that contributes to the prevention of violence.”
Although the song addresses difficult issues, it aims to be uplifting. “‘That Girl’ is the one that gives life; she has the power,” Mandie said. “I really wanted the end product to be something positive and something people would respond well to.”
The project will launch with information sessions, giving prospective participants opportunities to find out more, ask questions and share stories, before workshops are held in February 2018.
Several community organisations are providing support. These include Gateway Health, Albury Wodonga Ethnic Communities Council , Albury Wodonga Indian Australian Association, Healesville High School and the Healesville Indigenous Community Service Association. Each community will create its own video, which will be merged into one final film, before being published and distributed.