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Festival Official Program Launch
local music acts announced for the Music NT Festival Club
Santos Concert on the Esplanade
An 8000 strong crowd spent Saturday night
dancing on the Esplanade by Darwin Harbour to three of the
Territory’s top Indigenous bands, Wildwater, Yilila
and The Saltwater Band. The Santos Concert attracted people
from all walks of life; backpackers mingled with local families
and members of Aboriginal communities from across the Territory.
The free event is a great way for Darwin’s large
Indigenous population and music lovers of all colours to access
a slice of Arnhem Land’s contemporary music scene.
Led by award winning singer song writer Djolpa
McKenzie, Wildwater from Maningrida set the tone of the night
with their distinctively ‘tropical’ Indigenous
sound- a mix of Latin grooves and African with more traditional
Next were Yilila from the tiny community
of Numbulwar in remote eastern Arnhem Land who combine elements
of their clan’s ancient performance culture with modern
folk and rock. Lead singer, Grant Nundhirribala beseeched
parents in the crowd to teach their kids to ‘be strong’,
using his own children - members of the brilliant Red Flag
Dancers who perform with the band – as positive examples.
“I teach my kids my kids their culture. Go home and
teach your kids everything
you know!” he urged the enthusiastic crowd.
The Saltwater Band then took to the stage
in an hour long performance that proved again why many consider
them Australia’s hottest indigenous act. The eight musicians
from Elcho Island perform a bluesy blend of contemporary Indigenous
sounds with influences ranging from reggae to flamenco. The
stunning vocals of lead singer Manuel Nulupani Dhurrkay are
nothing short of spine tingling and song after song received
a wildly appreciative response on the dance floor.