Sand Tracks 2013 – Nabarlek and Sandridge Band

Regional Arts WA

Sand Tracks 2013 – Nabarlek and Sandridge Band

The 2013 the Sand Tracks program presented the well-known and celebrated band Nabarlek who toured the central desert region with emerging artists the Sandridge Band.

Formed in 1985 Nabarlek are from Manmoyi in Arnhem Land, 215 kilometres from the remote community of Gunbalanya (Oenpelli). Song lyrics are in their traditional language of Kunwinjku, as well as English and re-tell traditional stories and songs of the Kunwinjku people of Western Arnhem Land in a western music context in the hope of attracting a new generation through their rock/reggae beats.

Sandridge Band. Picture by Matt McHugh.

Nabarlek have a lot of energy and their mix of traditional harmonies and vocal lines with didgeridoo, reggae rhythms and rockin’ guitars create an atmosphere that can only come out of the Top End. The Sandridge Band are a group of young Yanuwa and Garrawa men who originally formed in 1995 playing at the fi rst Lidjakarda Festival at Wandangnula Outstation near Borroloola in the Gulf region of NT.

Their songs are a mixture of reggae, rock and metal sounds, about land, culture, people and contemporary life in communities. The Sandridge Band have steadily developed their status as a band to be reckoned with and have recently recorded their first album, Brolga Dreaming.

In 2013 Sand Tracks travelled 9,431km across three states and employed 17 people, including 12 artists over 27 days. The bands played to some 4,010 people over six performances and provided 16 workshops to 440 participants.

Shows were locally presented in Alice Springs by MusicNT, Amata by the Amata Community Council, Jameson by NG Media, Warakurna by the Warakurna Community, Warburton (Mirlirrtjarra) by Wilurarra Creative and Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku and Kiwirrkurra by Kiwirrkurra Council Aboriginal Corporation.

“Sandridge! They did themselves proud and threw all they had learned from performing and working with Nabarlek on this tour into this last performance. When Nabarlek took to the stage about an hour later you would have thought there was a crowd of many hundreds, not just the 160 who were there.”

– Mark Smerdon, Tour Manager, in Kiwirrkurra

Narbalek conducts a community workshop. Picture by Matt McHugh.


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