Indigenous musicians go viral with COVID-19 awareness video, ‘Wash Your Hands’

The track is blowing up across the Northern Territory

The video for a coronavirus-inspired dance song, ‘Wash Your Hands’, featuring Northern Territory Indigenous artists, has gone viral online.

Produced in conjunction with Skinnyfish Music and not-for-profit organisation One Disease, ‘Wash Your Hands’ was created as part of a public health campaign to raise awareness among Top End communities on how to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The clip features Saltwater Band singer Manuel Dhurrkay and the comedic talents of Nigel Yunupingu as well as children of Arnhem Land.

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Speaking with NME Australia about these communities and the situation in NT, Skinnyfish managing director Mark Grose explained, “The song is a collaboration between Manuel Dhurrkay (Saltwater Band) Michael Hohnen and James Mangohig. There is no doubt a good catchy song will enable a message to travel further than almost any other means.”

“Music is not just an entertainment vehicle in remote communities it is part of everyday life it informs, it instructs and it carries cultural weight so it is a perfect vehicle for a COVID campaign,” he said.

“The communities I have spoken with are responding really well, they are of course anxious like the rest of the broader community but are generally happy with the community lockdown.”

Watch the music video for ‘Wash Your Hands’ below:

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The video was viewed more than 45,000 times over the weekend after it was released in mid-April. ‘Wash Your Hands’ is part of a larger video series created by Skinnyfish Music in conjunction with prominent NT musicians including members of Saltwater Band, Ripple Effect and B2M, campaigning for public health awareness in the territory.

“The clip went viral because it is a bottom-up message,” said Grose. “The participants are also the target audience and they have responded to the song in their own way so they have been instrumental in shaping the message. The song also lends itself to fun and is so danceable.”

According to a press statement, the series of campaign videos have been produced in five different languages from across the territory and have been viewed by 50 per cent of the population via Facebook alone.

Michelle Dowden, CEO of One Disease, commented in the press statement, saying, “The reach of this campaign is massive. Over 100,000 views of our videos across the campaign and a viral hit with Manuel’s catchy ‘Wash Your Hands’ video is a result we can all be proud of.”

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