The Bush Bands Program brings together two of Central Australia’s premier music industry events in September, the Bush Bands Bash and the Bush Bands Business. It offers an intense week of skills and industry development for specially selected bands from around the region, in the lead up to an amazing showcase performance from these Central Australian bands.
The Bush Bands Bash (BBB) has developed over the last nine years to become the peak Central Australian Indigenous music showcase event. Held annually as an integral part of the Alice Desert Festival, the concert features eight bands from the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia, playing to an audience of thousands. The BBB is a key event for the Indigenous music industry within Central Australia and has formed an iconic identity, celebrating contemporary indigenous music, language and culture from the Central Desert Region.
The Bush Bands Business (BBBiz) is a skills & industry development camp for the bands selected to play in the Bush Bands Bash. BBBiz is part of Music NT’s professional development program and brings together over fifty of the leading Indigenous musicians and songwriters from Central Australia with top music industry mentors for three days of workshops, rehearsals and discussions.
Rising Wind Band are one of the most prolific musical outfits in Yuendumu in Central Australia. Founded by Chris Gallagher (Warumpi Band, Blekbala Mujik, Yothu Yindi) in 1983, Rising Wind Band is known for their uplifting fusion of rock and reggae, while experimenting with blends of gospel and country in their music.
Three years ago the band lost their bass player, but continue to play for his sake and regularly include a song he wrote 'Rock and Roll', in their sets as a way of honouring his memory.
Photo credit: Nico Liengme
Hailing from Amata Community in the APY Lands, Mala Band formed when the members met as students of the Amata Anangu School.
Still heavily involved in the school and local community, Mala Band are helping to develop live performance opportunities for Amata as well as assisting in the ARTS program to grow an appreciation of music among local students.
The Mala Band members are all multi instrumentalists and play guitar, keyboard, drums and percussion as well as write their own music and lyrics which they perform in both Pitjantjatjara and English.
Located at the base of Uluru is our next band in theMusicNT Bush Bands Bash lineup - Mutitjulu Band, playing a stirring mix of upbeat and unique combination of reggae, dub and rock music.
Lead by vocalist and community leader Kimberly Taylor and her husband David Moneymoon, the Mutitjulu Band have been jamming and writing together for years. Whilst the lineup is always in flux, the songs and spirit speak in a singular truth, Mutitjulu is their home.
After a sold out debut performance in 2017 atAraluen Arts Centre in Alice Springs, the band went on to travel to Sydney to appear on ABC TV's 'The Recording Studio' and have a single written by Kimberly Taylor coming out soon.
Hailing from Angurugu Community on Groote Eylandt, the band have been creating music since 2001, fusing traditional and modern musical techniques to create their unique rock sound.
With several large-scale live performances under their belt, including Garma and Barunga Festivals, you can expect a stellar performance from Eylandt Band as they bring their songs about country and songlines to the Bush Bands Bash stage on the 8th of September.
MB Reggae are a new Alyawarra band playing a soft rock style of reggae. Formed in 2018, the band consists of family members spread out over two communities who came together over a love of reggae music.
The band members say playing music has dual benefits, keeping them out of trouble and making their family proud.
Photo credit: Charlie Lowson
Hailing from Kaltukatjara in NPY Lands 230km west of Uluru, the Docker River Band consists of five young men; Roy Jugadai, Albert Porter, Thaddeus Mitchell, Peter Bennett and Dion Bell.
Together they combine dreamy vocals with exceptional musicianship, earning them much-deserved recognition as a talented desert reggae band throughout the central desert region with a wide and diverse audience.
The majority of the DRB's songs are in Pitjantjatjara language, and they sing with pride about life in their community, as well as with hope for the next generation.
Last year, DRB toured south east NSW featuring at the inaugural Giiyong Festival and performed a sold out headline show at Canberra venue - Smith’s Alternative.
In July this year they recorded their debut album.
In addition to the six bands selected through the application process, two bands join the line up as part of the Country Arts WA ‘Sand Tracks’ tour.
The headlining band Mambali was selected through community voting and the emerging band Barkly Drifters were selected from the previous year’s alumni of Bush Bands.
Photo credit: Duane Preston
This year MusicNT presents Patsy Coleman from Darwin, Lena Kellie from Darwin and Celestine Rowe from Papunya as our three Desert Divas who will participate in Bush Bands Business and go on to perform at Bush Bands Bash.
Photo credit: Milly Hooper
Grab your tickets for this year's Bush Bands Bash online now- https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/bush-bands-bash-2019-tickets-65159168828