Videos of Aboriginal bands, Barunga Festival, Australia

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Aboriginal bands, Barunga Festival

Young Aboriginal men have taken very well to contemporary western music and many successful bands have been formed in communities all over the Northern Territory. Some bands have even toured abroad and become internationally known, like Yothu Yindi, from Yirrkala in north east Arnhem Land. They may combine western sounds with traditional Aboriginal chant and dance, often singing in their own languages as well.

Aboriginal dance introducing Blekbala Mujik
Dancing with Aboriginal rock band

Blekbala Mujik (Kriol for "Blackfellow Music") was a very successful band of Aboriginal musicians, with founding member and leader Peter Miller. Hailing from Barunga, an Aboriginal community just south of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory of Australia, they combined pop, rock and reggae with traditional Aboriginal chant and dance, using clapsticks and didjeridu together with western instruments. They gave a concert at the yearly Sports and Cultural Festival in Barunga Aboriginal community near Katherine, on 10 June 1995.

They performed 11 numbers for an enthusiastic audience - all musicians were local boys. Peter Miller took the lead vocals and guitar, his brother-in-law Lazarus Murray played the didjeridu and did traditional dancing with Allen Murphy and Jason Fuller among others; it was a great show and security had to intervene a few times to move overenthusiastic members of the audience off the stage.

The next day various Aboriginal bands performed on a stage outside at the Barunga Festival and children would often get up and dance for a short time, then running off when shyness would overcome them. All in good fun.