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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Yothu Yindi Band


Yothu Yindi Aboriginal music


Yothu Yindi hail from the Yolngu (Aboriginal) homelands on the north-east coast of Australia’s Northern Territory, a country the Yolngu have occupied and protected for perhaps 40,000 years or more. The Yolngu members of the band celebrate their deep spiritual connections with the land, connections that are kept alive through song and dance and ceremony, public aspects of which are found within the band’s recordings and live performances. Band members are Mandawuy Yunupingu - Singer, Songwriter, Stuart Kellaway - Bass Guitar, Nicky Yunupingu - Yidaki, Dancer, Ben Hakalitz - Drums,Gapanbulu Yunupingu, Cal Williams - Guitar.Mandawuy was born at Yirrkala on the northeastern tip of Arnhem Land. Mandawuy has an extensive list of credits. Stuart is a balanda (non-aboriginal) member of the group. He has been with the band since the beginning. The Yolngu members of Yothu Yindi live in the tribal homelands of north-east Arnhem Land 600 kilometres east of the Northern Territory capital of Darwin. Some live in Yirrkala acoastal community on the Gove Peninsular that was originally established by the Methodist Missionary Society in 1935. Others live in Galiwinku, a former mission on Elcho Island originally established in 1942. Yirrkala is a community of 800 Yolngu people that serves as a resource centre for a further 800 people who live in small family-orientated out-stations or bush camps in the region. (It was the move back to out-stations or homelands centres that inspired the title song of Yothu Yindi’s debut album, Homeland Movement). A move pioneered in north-east Arnhem Land, the homeland movement has seen Aboriginal people returning to their traditional lands and lifestyles- relying less on the trappings of Western society and more on traditional activities such as hunting, fishing and cultural and ceremonial education. Yolngu band members are drawn from two of the sixteen clan groups in the region, the Gumatj and Rirratjingu. the people of the region have had contact with Balanda (Europeans) only over the past sixty years or so. Consequently, their traditional cultural, religious, artistic and ceremonial activities are still among the strongest in the country. The band’s approach to its career is deeply rooted in traditional decision making processes, so all traditional songs that have been performed or released have been done so as a result of substantial consultation with clan leaders and traditional lawmakers. The band’s homelands make up part of the Arnhem Land Aboriginal Reserve that was established in 1930. In the 1960s the Australian government granted mining leases to a multi-national consortium to extract bauxite from lands traditionally owned by the Gumatj and Rirritjingu clans. The clans were not consulted about the mine. Consequently, the birth of the Aboriginal land rights movement can be directly traced to the actions of the fathers of two of Yothu Yindi’s founding members, Mandawuy Yunupingu and Witiyana Marika. In consultation with their families, the leaders of the Gumatj and Rirratjingu clans presented  their petitions on bark to the federal government during the 1960s. This action led to recognition of their traditional land tenure. The petitions led to the establishment of the Woodward Royal Commision, and ultimately the tabling of the Land Rights Act (NT) 1976, which now hang in Parliament House, Canberra. Two known songs of the band are Freedom and Mainstream. Bands like Yothu Yindi have generated an increased interest in Aboriginal music in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and elsewhere.  

posted by Monique at 8:59 am  

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1 Comment »

  1. […] of a great song … Lead singer, Mandawuy Yunupingu, gives a quick introduction to this song. …Beaudog Yothu Yindi BandBand members are Mandawuy Yunupingu - Singer, Songwriter, Stuart … fathers of two of Yothu Yindi’s […]

    Pingback by mandawuy yunupingu — March 5, 2010 @ 3:36 pm

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