Originally scheduled to celebrate the opening day of the annual Usher Cup, the welcome to country performed by respected indigenous elder Luther Cora quickly became a daily ritual for the annual surf contest, the short ceremony held at the water’s edge at Snapper Rocks.
The traditional welcome and acknowledgement of country performed by Luther and members of the Yugambeh Language Group community attracts the attention of competitors, locals and visitors, the sound of the didgeridoo and clapping sticks echoing across the beach prior to the start of the days surfing.
For Usher Cup co-founder Theodore Vairaktaris, it’s a chance to pay respects to the land’s traditional owners, it’s also an opportunity to unite and educate.
“We are so proud of our association with Luther and the Yugambeh dancers, it’s such a fantastic way to start each day of the Usher Cup contest and what we’ve noticed is that it really does bring the community together.” Theodore said
“Each morning, locals on their walk will stop and enjoy the short ceremony, while for visitors to the region it really is quite special to see the dancers and musicians performing with Snapper Rocks and the Gold Coast a spectacular backdrop.”
“The Usher Cup is an event which promotes unity, inclusivity and most importantly community. It’s really important to us that everyone feels good! And it’s an absolute honour to have Luther and his crew performing for us again this year.”
For Luther, the ceremony is about paying respect to country, to honouring the lands traditional custodians and paying respect to leaders past present and emerging. But for Luther it’s an opportunity to welcome all walks of life and all cultures to the Gold Coast and wishing them a safe and enjoyable time.
“Our performance isn’t just paying respect to the land we stand on and our own ancestors, but everyone’s ancestors that have walked upon this land. We dance to show our respects to this country, the land, the water, the air and the creator”, said Luther.
As a storyteller and strong advocate for keeping his culture and art alive, the respect and passion Luther has for his culture is hugely admirable with each performance at the Usher Cup, another opportunity to share and educate the broader community about indigenous culture and to help them understand and learn a little more about the world’s oldest living culture.
No stranger to performing, Luther and his family have performed at the National Trust Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary for over 20 years and played a key role in the opening ceremony of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Make sure you don’t miss our daily welcome to country performances at this years Usher Cup contest, it really is a performance not to be missed.
Usher Cup 2023 is proudly supported by Tourism and Events Queensland & the City Of Gold Coast