Australia’s most renowned Indigenous rock act, Yothu Yindi, will close out the East Arnhem Live online concert series this Saturday (June 20).
The series, which has been running since late April, has been offering an opportunity for people around the world to virtually experience East Arnhem and Yolŋu culture online, with performances by local artists from beautiful scenic locations. So far, the series has seen performances from Yirrnga Yunupingu, Andrew Gurruwiwi Band and Yirrmal Marika, among others.
Yothu Yindi’s performance will be broadcast via the East Arnhem Land Facebook page on Saturday at 6.30pm ACST.
Founding member and bassist Stuart Kellaway says there’s a vibrant music and arts scene in the East Arnhem region, something he’s grateful for the opportunity to highlight through the series.
“It also gives back to the local economy by supporting businesses and artists,” Kellaway told NME Australia. “Initiatives like these help educate Australians and give Indigenous people a voice, which in the current political environment and with the black lives matter movement is more important than ever.”
Kellaway says the band have long been finding new ways to create and share music remotely, with members spread out across the country in North-East Arnhem, Brisbane, Cairns and Darwin.
“We have been doing this for 30 odd years now and were one of the first bands in Australia to be on the web. To have come so far and be able to share our music with old fans as well as a new generation discovering us is really remarkable,” he explained.
“East Arnhem Live was such a great project to be a part of and the organisers are an amazing team of producers, it was a no brainer to jump in with both feet when presented the offer to be involved.”
The series is being presented by Yolŋu Radio, and is supported by Rirratjingu Aboriginal Corporation and Developing East Arnhem Limited. It was launched after COVID-19 travel restrictions came into place – severely impacting the region’s tourism industry, which the local Yolŋu people heavily rely on.
“As a not-for-profit economic development company, our key focus is economic diversification that supports a sustainable post-mining future for the East Arnhem region,” said Jordy Bowman, CEO of Developing East Arnhem Limited.
“With tourism being one of the main industries supporting this vision, East Arnhem Live presented a unique opportunity to get behind local Indigenous artists who were impacted by COVID-19 with the cancellation of festivals and gigs.”
“East Arnhem is a relatively unknown destination, but with pristine landscapes, and a deep Aboriginal cultural history we were excited to be able to educate people throughout Australia and the world about what they can experience when they come to visit.”
Bowman says the project has been a success, with viewers tuning in from the East Coast along with Europe and America.
“We’ve seen a increase in enquiries about travelling to the region as a result of the series.”