AskDefine | Define corroboree

User Contributed Dictionary



From Dharuk garabara.




  1. A nocturnal dance held by Australian Aborigines, for social, celebratory or warlike purposes.
    • 1988: A hundred yards or so away the throaty beat of a didgeridoo drifted down from some ancient corroboree, a splendid accompaniment to the music of the night — Tom Cole, Hell West and Crooked (Angus & Robertson 2005, p. 231)
  2. Any noisy, late-night gathering or disturbance.

Extensive Definition

For the frog of the same name see, Corroboree frog. For the Split Enz album, see Waiata.
A corroboree is a ceremonial meeting of Australian Aborigines. The word was coined by the European settlers of Australia in imitation of the Aboriginal word caribberie. At a corroboree Aborigines interact with the Dreamtime through dance, music and costume. Many ceremonies act out events from the Dreamtime. Many of the ceremonies are sacred and people from outside a community are not permitted to participate or watch.
In the northwest of Australia, corroboree is a generic word to define theatrical practices as different from ceremony. Whether it be public or private, ceremony is for invited guests. There are other generic words to describe traditional public performances: juju and kobbakobba for example. In the Pilbara, corroborees are yanda or jalarra. Across the Kimberley the word junba is often used to refer to a range of traditional performances and ceremonies.
Corroboree and ceremony are strongly connected but different. In the 1930s Adolphus Elkin wrote of a public pan-Aboriginal dancing "tradition of individual gifts, skill, and ownership" as distinct from the customary practices of appropriate elders guiding initiation and other ritual practices (Elkin 1938:299). Corroborees are open performances in which everyone may participate taking into consideration that the songs and dances are highly structured requiring a great deal of knowledge and skill to perform.
Corroboree is a generic word to explain different genres of performance which in the northwest of Australia include balga, wangga, lirrga, junba, ilma and many more. Throughout Australia the word corroboree embraces songs, dances, rallies and meetings of various kinds. In the past a corroboree has been inclusive of sporting events and other forms of skill display. It is an appropriated English word that has been reappropriated to explain a practice that is different to ceremony and more widely inclusive than theatre or opera.
corroboree in Lithuanian: Kuraborė
corroboree in Swedish: Corroboree
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