Sand Tracks 2012 – Tjupi Band and Blackstone Band

Regional Arts WA

Sand Tracks 2012 – Tjupi Band and Blackstone Band

In 2012 the Sand Tracks program presented the well-known and celebrated Tjupi Band, who toured the central desert region with emerging artists Blackstone Band.

Tjupi Band come from Papunya, 250 km NW of Alice Springs. The Tjupi Band play energetic and emotive desert reggae. Singing in both Luritja and English they are the foremost musical inspiration for people across central Australia.

The tour stops off in Amata. Picture by Matt McHugh.

Tjupi is the Luritja word for honey ant. Tjupi Band songs are about nostalgia for country, love lost, listening to Elders, following tradition, social issues, skin pride, tribal unity and, most importantly, pride in their culture. Unearthed by Triple J in 2010, they headlined the John Butler gig at the Alice Springs showground. Mentored by the famous Sammy Butcher, the band take over from where Warumpi Band left off.

The Blackstone Band are developing a strong fan base throughout the Ngaanyatjarra Lands. Their songs have been included on a number of compilation CDs and their skills have been further developed through performances at sports carnivals and concerts across the NG Lands.

Sand Tracks travelled 7,903km across three states and employed 18 people over 26 days. The bands played to some 4,220 people over six performances and provided 18 workshops to 262  participants.

Shows were locally presented in Alice Springs by RedHOT Arts, Kiwirrkurra by Kiwirrkurra Council, Blackstone by Papalunkatja Community Council, Warakurna by the Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku and Desert Dust Up, Warburton (Mirlirrtjarra) by NG Media and Wilurarra Creative and Amata by Amata Community Council.

“My auntie Mrs Davies – the oldest person in the community even got up and danced – those old people enjoy dancing too! – it’s for young and old to enjoy.”

– Derek Anderson, Warburton

The tour on the road from Blackstone to Warakurna. Picture by Matt McHugh.

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