Saltwater returns to desert one decade on

Saltwater returns to desert one decade on

Regional Arts WA

Saltwater Band return to the central desert to once again headline the Sand Tracks tour, ten years after it all began.

Two decades after forming, Galiwin’ku’s Saltwater Band are preparing to headline the Sand Tracks 10th anniversary tour supported by West Arnhem’s incredible up and coming Black Rock Band.

Saltwater Band. Picture courtesy of Skinnyfish Music.

One of the Northern Territory’s most loved bands, Saltwater Band have sold over 30,000 albums, been awarded the prestigious Deadly’s “Album of the Year”, been nominated for an ARIA and toured extensively across Australia, performing at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games and for the Queen in Sydney. Lead singer Manuel Ngulupani Dhurrkay headlined the first Sand Tracks cross-border tour and is leading the legendary Saltwater Band for this very special anniversary tour.

Manuel says “I am very proud to have been chosen to tour with Sand Tracks. We are looking forward to playing across the desert communities again, mah.”

With 20 years of songwriting and performing experience, Saltwater Band will mentor dynamic, young rockers, Black Rock Band throughout the tour – both bands having played the Barunga Festival in June.

Black Rock Band hail from the West Arnhem region in the Northern Territory’s Top End. They draw on a deep musical family history to incorporate both traditional and contemporary sounds. Singing in Kunwinjku and English about their celebration of culture, connection to country, the fight for social justice and the future they want to create for the next generation.

Black Rock Band. Picture courtesy of Children’s Ground.

Black Rock Band lead singer Richie Guymala says “The music that I sing about, I think of it as a message and a reminder for people, what’s happening in the real world. Not only about the rich and famous, it’s about the poor too.”

Country Arts WA Executive Director Paul MacPhail says “Sand Tracks this year is celebrating ten years of connecting successful musicians with remote Aboriginal communities throughout the central desert. We are proud that this initiative has gained national and international exposure. The 2018 bands represent both the legendary acts of the past and exciting, fresh sounds from new talent. They are certain to be a huge hit in the communities they are about to tour.”

Sand Tracks is presented by Country Arts WA and Healthway promoting the Mentally Healthy WA campaign message, Act-Belong-Commit.

Healthway Chief Executive Officer Susan Hunt says “Healthway is delighted to support the Sand Tracks tour for 2018. It demonstrates the Act-Belong-Commit message by providing an opportunity for people living in remote communities to share in and enjoy exciting live music performances. Through this year’s tour, Healthway and Country Arts WA are working together to promote healthy living in remote communities throughout Western Australia.”

Sand Tracks begins on 16 September at Bush Bands Bash in Alice Springs, through its partnership with MusicNT and will then travel over three weeks to five remote Aboriginal communities across three states; Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory, with the final performance in Kiwirrkurra – one of Australia’s most remote communities, more than 2000km drive from Perth.

More info can be found at

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