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Interview – Kardajala Kirridarra + Stream

Stream ‘Ngabaju’ below.

Who are you and what are you doing here? (what is your name, what is the band and what is your role in the band?)

My name is Beatrice, I am in the band Kardajala Kirridarra (Sandhill Women). I am the producer, co-songwriter and one of the vocalists.

How did the band start?

The band started when I was brought up from Melbourne as a part of the Barkly Regional Council’s multimedia project. Its called ‘Barkly Desert Cultures’ and it brings producers up to the Northern Territory to work with people from the local communities.

I came to Kulumindini (Elliott), which is about halfway between Alice Springs and Darwin, where I met Eleanor Dixon and we totally bonded over lalija (tea) and music. We started writing songs together and later Eleanor’s aunty Janey Dixon came on board as the key translator and backing vocalist and not long after that MC Kayla Jackson joined us, bringing her MC lady gangsta hustle and thus the Kardajala family was complete.

How would you describe your band?

We are four ladies, three from Marlinja and Kulumindini in the NT and myself from Melbourne. We sing in Mudburra and English and we are awesome.

If you had to choose one song you’ve written that best defines your band which one would it be?

Well we have only one track released so far, its called Nabaju which means Grandmother. It’s a song about the importance of Grandmothers, they carry a lot of life knowledge, particularly in Indigenous communities where the Grandmother has such a strong role in bringing the children up and carrying all the sacred knowledge from the elders that they pass down.

This song defines our band in a way because the album we have written together is about the story of being a women and all the different things that that means in this day and age.

In this day and age where anyone is pretty much able to pick up an instrument, what would you say sets your band apart from the rest?

We sing in Mudburra a rarely heard but incredibly beautiful Indigenous language. We combine modern technology with storytelling and sounds from the oldest living culture in the world and we are a musical gang of awesome babes. I think with those powers combined we are pretty much captain planet.

Where are people able to hear your songs?

Our debut self titled album is out July 7, in the meantime you can listen to Ngabaju here –

JJJ unearthed: https://www.triplejunearthed.com/artist/kardajala-kirridarra

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/kardajala_kirridarra/ngabaju-grandmothers-song-1/s-loTVB

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/7GkeaW4mmfsWbaNrWaFNdf

Are you playing any shows anytime soon?

We are releasing our debut album on the 7th of July and we are doing a seven date album preview tour throughout the Barkly region of the NT, this is a huge area in the middle of the NT. We will be doing shows in some of the most remote communities in the world including Alpurrurulam, Ampilatwatja, Arlparra, Ali Curung, Tennant Creek, Elliott and finishing up in Alice Springs.

We collaborated with Nai and Hiatus Kayote at Wide Open Spaces festival in Alice Springs in May of this year and we really connected, she got a skin name and learnt about camel mardaja (we won’t translate that. its a naughty word). We’ll have more news to share on this later…

In September we have been chosen to perform at Bush Bands Bash in Alice Springs, it’s the biggest music event in the NT and last year we were the first all female band to play at it. We will then go on the Sandtracks tour performing at communities all throughout the desert of WA such as Kiwirrkurra, Warakurna, Warburton, Irrunytju and Amata. We’re really excited about that! If you google the you will see where they are! We’ll get to drive through some of the most beautiful country and to very special places where not a lot of people are allowed to go, the end of the tour is driving up behind Uluru for example. It’s very special country.

What is your proudest moment/greatest achievement as a band? 

We were the first all female band to play at Bush Bands Bash, you may not have heard about it but it’s the biggest music event in the NT. All bands from the desert communities apply and only six are chosen. Very rarely are there women on stage, but we managed

Tell us 3 bands that we should be listening to/be keeping an eye out for?

Ibeyi, Nai Palm (front women of Hiatue Kayote), she is just working on her first solo album and its amazing!!! Might be a cheeky little collaboration happening with us too and ‘Desert HipHop’ which is the male Hip Hop version of our band.

Anything Else you’d like to add?

This is the chorus words from our first single Ngabaju (Grandmothers Song) just in case you have never seen Mudburra written:

Abala ban nyundu, ngardangarna ngayinya ngurru, kurdij kayini x 2

Marndiyala, Marndiyala, Marndiyala ngurra, Marndiyala ngurra

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