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“Music is the rhythm of life. In Central Australian remote communities, that rhythm is an incredible mix of reggae, country, rock, surf guitar and even gospel that goes under the general banner of “desert reggae”.  From when kids can talk, they sing. From when they can clap, they drum. From when they can walk, they dance. Song has been a powerful medium for story telling in Indigenous culture for many millennia and contemporary music is a potent way of continuing that tradition whilst keeping Indigenous languages alive and strong in the younger generations.

IN the 80’s, the break away crossover success of the Warumpi Band from Papunya and other Indigenous bands across Australia highlighted not only the social issues of remote communities, but the wealth of talent that existed within them. This inspired a whole generation of young Indigenous kids to use music as their voice, to tell their stories and to claim some power back. These kids are now that are now highly skilled players and inhabit a vibrant culture where music is currency of the highest value.

Growing out of that rich garden, the Bush Bands Bash has its roots firmly placed in the expression of land, language, story and life. The concert is more than ‘just some other gig’, it plays a many important roles in the cultural calendar.  Not only does it give the bands a chance to play a professionally staged event, but it gives town folk a chance to see the incredible talent from the communities. Further to that, it is one of few events where Indigenous and non-Indigenous people are celebrating side by side.  The Bush Bands Bash is reconciliation in action, facilitated by our common love of music. As one of our mentors Sammy Butcher says, “Music brings everybody together – black and white all together”. Being part of a couple of thousand people celebrating together, watching young Indigenous people on stage being proud, singing in language gives me an insight in to what Australia CAN be.”  Scott Large – Project Manager.

The Bush Band Bash is the forefront of contemporary Indigenous music showcasing in Central Australia and has attracted a significant following from both indigenous and non-indigenous audiences. BBB has made a significant contribution to the development of contemporary and experimental Indigenous music in Central Australia. While music is a primary means of dialogue for aboriginal people, the Bush Bands Bash functions on many levels:

  • Performing to a diverse mainstream audience not only contributes to the professional development of the individual musicians, but also helps foster healthy communities and challenge existing social divides.
  • The BBB provides a unique opportunity for interaction and communication between otherwise isolated musicians.
  • Access to high quality sound equipment such as PA’s, recording equipment and sound engineers, provides skills development and knowledge for the bands to take home with them.

For the Indigenous musicians involved, the BBB is the peak event for Central Australia and is a significant step forward towards a potential career in music.

The Bush Bands Bash is presented in a safe grog-free setting where families can celebrate together. We encourage healthy creativity for young Indigenous people through music and expression. Be strong, sing loud and stand proud. KUNDA WIYA!