Dr Candace Kruger

Founder | Choirmaster | Elder

Known affectionately amongst community as Aunty Candace, Dr Candace Kruger is the founder and director of the Yugambeh Youth Aboriginal Corporation, and choirmaster of the Yugambeh Youth Choir. She is a proud Kombumerri (Gold Coast) and Ngugi (Moreton Island) yarrabilginngunn (songwoman).

As an author, composer, educator, and mother, Dr Kruger’s achievements are innumerable. For over 25 years, she has taught music at the primary and secondary school level. In 2005, she co-authored ‘Yugambeh Talga: Music Traditions of the Yugambeh People’ as the product of many years spent researching and collecting the songs, language and stories of Yugambeh Elders. In 2014, Dr Kruger took on recruiting for the Yugambeh Youth Choir, and became choirmaster. This informed her 2017 Master’s Research Thesis, ‘In the Bora Ring: Yugambeh Language and Song Project’, exploring the effects of participation in the choir. Her Doctoral Study, ‘Yarrabil Girrebah Singing Indigenous Language Alive’, an exploration of the Songwoman’s journey, was published in 2022. She is currently working as a lecturer for Griffith University’s School of Education and Professional Studies while volunteering across the community to teach language, culture, and music.

Dr Kruger is focused on facilitating the expression and preservation of Aboriginal knowledges for lasting community outcomes. Her work with the Yugambeh Youth Aboriginal Corporation allows her to pass her knowledge along, supporting youth in the community while instilling them with the Aboriginal language, songs, and stories she has gathered over the course of her career. Her expansive contribution to education, music, and Aboriginal culture is renowned across the Gold Coast, and her ongoing influence continues to inspire community youth and educators alike.

Dr Kruger is frequently asked to deliver Welcome to Country (Yugambeh Language Region), presentations and language workshops. To enquire about one of these offerings, please contact: bookings@yugambehyouth.com.au

'Yarrabilginngunn' - The Role of the Songwoman

Dr Kruger was gifted the role of Songwoman in 1994, after completing a Bachelor of Arts Music and a Graduate Diploma in Education, when her Grandfather, Sam Levinge (Ngugi/Kombumerri) encouraged her to seek out the songs of the Kombumerri. This lead her to write her first book, ‘Yugambeh Talga: Music Traditions of the Yugambeh People,’ and, shortly afterward, begin teaching ‘Yugambeh Language in Song’ workshops. The Yugambeh Youth Choir was born from Dr Kruger’s desire to revitalise the regular practice of singing in Yugambeh language, beyond her intermittent workshops.

As a Songwoman, Dr Kruger works to uncover Yugambeh songs of the past and the present, and inspire the creation of new Yugambeh music in the future. Some songs have been passed down through generations, whole and intact, which Dr Kruger and the Choir are able to sing alive today. In other cases, snippets of songs, lyrics or stories have been passed to Dr Kruger, who lends them a new melody, or restores the lyrics, breathing life back into ancient stories. Through the Yugambeh Youth Choir, Dr Kruger passes these songs back into the community, instilling the next generation of Aboriginal youth with the knowledges and skills she hopes will empower them to engage with community, education, and leadership, improving youth outcomes across the region.

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