Song Nation is an initiative by the Smugglers of Light Foundation, in partnership with Desert Pea Media & Vibe Australia.

In 2011, Song Nation was created in conjunction with students from Ayr State School, St Teresa’s College Abergowrie, Shalom Christian College & Heatley State School in Queensland. The program was devised & delivered by Toby Finlayson from Desert Pea Media.

Over 3 days, students were invited to participate in a highly creative & engaging process of storytelling through music & film, culminating in a song & video clip that was an expression of current issues & culture within their local communities. Apart from the  benefits gained by engagement with aspects of literacy & music in the song writing process, participants were exposed to basic music composition, recording technology & film making techniques.

Song Nation culminated at Vibe Alive Townsville, June 2011 where students  from the four participating schools performed their songs & screened their film clips to an audience of over 2,000 students from the local district.

Below a comment from Mirella Buffa, a teacher at Ayr State School, one of the four schools participating in the Song Nation project.

“We had the most amazing time and experience.  Toby is fantastic.  His professionalism, knowledge and abilities are outstanding.  My students were so excited, they were jumping out of their skins.  Toby managed to unearth a whole new side to them.  For the first time ever I was able to get them into the traditional dances and traditional dress.  A massive milestone for us as a school.  Since then the ball has kept rolling.  Toby and the Song Nation project has had such a positive outcome for our students it is truly remarkable.  So I just wanted to say thank you so very much for allowing us to be part of such an incredible project. We look forward to any future opportunities, such as this one that may come our way. 

Again thank you so much.  I’m afraid words don’t do my gratitude justice.”


Matthew Priestley

Toby Finlayson

Matthew and Toby from Desert Pea Media (DPM) have been delivering innovative programs in communities around Australia, archiving culture, educating & supporting communities to evolve & sustain cultural protocol since 2002.

They are highly experienced & gifted at reaching out to engage young people to express themselves in a very positive way.

SOL has had a successful ongoing working relationship with DPM since our inception.

If you would like to make a donation to the SONG NATION MUSIC PROJECT please click here.

Many thanks for your interest & support.