Stars of the Desert

Stars of the Desert

Gemma Robins

On Tuesday 22 March 2016, Country Arts WA presented ‘Stars of the Desert’, a private event hosted and sponsored by the U.S. Consulate General, Perth.

The evening brought together members of the Violent Femmes, and Eleanor and Raymond Dixon of Rayella – a band from the remote community of Marlinja in the Northern Territory.

US Consul event_Dan Paris web (6)Brian Ritchie of the Violent Femmes and Eleanor of Rayella. Photo by Dan Paris.

Part of the event was to highlight the power of music, the amazing talent of remote Aboriginal musicians and to draw attention to Country Arts WA’s contemporary Aboriginal remote music touring program, Sand Tracks.

Sand Tracks teams up an Aboriginal headline act with a young Aboriginal band from the Central Desert as the support act, and tours them through Australia’s remote central desert region delivering live performances alongside music and culture workshops.

Brian Ritchie, guitarist of the Violent Femmes became Rayella’s music mentor during Music NT’s 2014 Bush Band Business. Rayella then went on to tour with Sand Tracks in 2015 as the support act of Tjintu Desert Band.

Country Arts WA established a relationship with Brian Ritchie at the 2014 Regional Arts Australia Summit: Arts & Edges in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, where he was a keynote speaker. U.S. Consul General Cynthia Griffin, was also at the Summit as a delegate and Country Arts WA took this opportunity to do something remarkable. Thus ‘Star of the Desert’ was created.

US Consul event_Dan Paris web (5)Brian Ritchie of the Violent Femmes; Ray and Eleanor of Rayella. Photo by Dan Paris. 

Prior to the once in a lifetime event, Brian Ritchie joined Rayella at Abmusic where they shared stories and songs with their students.

‘Star of the Desert’ was an intimate affair with 80 people gathering under the stars, overlooking the magnificent Perth city skyline.

It truly was magical.

Country Arts WA would like to thank the U.S. Consulate General, Perth team and U.S. Consul General herself, Cynthia Griffin, for her generosity, hospitality and advocacy.

Media footage

Channel 10 News | Tuesday 22 March 2016

The West Australian | Tuesday 22 March 2016
“Violent Femmes embrace Aboriginal music” by Steven Bevis 

ABC News | Wednesday 23 March 2016
“Violent Femmes jam session shines light on rising Indigenous group Rayella” by David Weber

ABC News | Tuesday 22 March 2016

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