3 March, 2014
The Beatles, While My Guitar Gently Weeps (1968), Apple Records.
In honour of my recent visit to the Hog Shed — you'll find it in Nhulunbuy, Northern Territory
— I give you this classic number penned by George Harrison. Originally recorded for the, now, iconic The White Album, with Eric Clapton on guitar, for me, this is one of the band's more beautiful tracks— with the added of bonus of the repetitive 'love' not making an appearance.
Harrison's voice is as vulnerable and moving as a mandolin gracing a rock song, a sound that I didn't think could be topped. And then there was the Hog Shed. And a little father-daughter duo with nothing but an acoustic guitar, a flute and stunning vocals to transport you back to the mid-nineties listening the likes of Mazzy Star or Beth Orton. In terms of a cover song, this was a pretty darn solid rendition, I only wish I could share it with you to compare to the original.
1 March, 2014
Thelma Plum, Breath in Breath Out (2013), Footstomp.
Who's up for some spine-tingling brilliance that will reach right down to your calves? Go on, press play and listen to the gorgeous notes breathed by Thelma Plum. She may still be in the land of EPs with her debut Rosie, but, boy, does this firecracker of talent pack a punch. Just hit play. You can thank me later.
27 February, 2014
Big Scary, Summer's Last Gasp (2010), Pieater.
A short little number today. Big Scary, a wonderful duo from Melbourne, released a series of four season inspired EPs throughout 2010: Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer.
The track I've linked, coming in at a mere 1:40, is precisely how the weather and climate feel here in Gunyungara — the song name is a coincidence, kind of, and not really correct, either — the wet season may be coming to a close, marked by an abundance of dragonflies, but summer is still hanging on as Yolngu Nation heads into the dry season.
Press play and relax the dulcet tones of rain drops on a tin roof and feel the suffocating nature of humidity battle it out with a staff of notes and clefs.
25 February, 2014
John Butler, Dan Sultan & Missy Higgins, From Little Things Big Things Grow (2009), ABC Triple J.
Written by Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody, the song was first recorded by Paul Kelly and The Messengers in 1991 for their album Comedy. Kev Carmody, with Paul Kelly, in 1993 recorded the song for his album Bloodlines— and horror of horrors, it failed to chart. Huh?
This track has a long history of being covered and adored. In 2009 this version was recorded as a part of a tribute to Paul Kelly during Triple J's AusMusic Month. John Butler, Dan Sultan and Missy Higgins' rendition likely didn't chart either, though if you ask me it should have. The track has 79k hits on youtube — 70k are likely mine with the amount I share it — and it certainly deserves a few more visits. Come on, three of Australia's best loved indie artists pouring their souls into a song that means much to Aboriginal people as well as also being a song of healing and unity for greater Australia, surely it is worth a watch?
The title, and chorus, evoke promise and forgiveness and its foundations tell a story, a history, of resilience and fortitude. Vincent Lingiari, in 1966, instigated, what would become known as, the Wave Hill Walk-Off; initially thought to be a strike against conditions faced by the Aboriginal people working Vesteys' cattle property, the demonstration was soon to be seen as something much bigger. Vincent Lingiari led his people to Wattie Creek, Daguragu in Gurindji, and established a settlement there. The strike, 1966-1975, was an issue of land. The Gurindji people, as First Australians, wanted their traditional homeland back and this event was an instigator for future Land Rights action. Possibly, the first action of this kind to gain attention by the wider Australian Public, with the Bark Petition from the Yolngu people in Arnhem Land, in the shadow of the 1967 Referendum, helped pave the way to the 1976 Land Rights Act.
1975 saw the Labor government, led by Gough Whitlam, successfully negotiate a portion of land to be given back to the Gurindji people in a ceremony where Prime Minister Whitlam poured sand through Vincent Lingiari's hands, with these words:
"On this great day, I, Prime Minister of Australia, speak to you on behalf of all Australian people – all those who honour and love this land we live in. For them I want to say to you: I want this to acknowledge that we Australians have still much to do to redress the injustice and oppression that has for so long been the lot of Black Australians.
Vincent Lingiari, I solemnly hand to you these deeds as proof, in Australian law, that these lands belong to the Gurindji people and I put into your hands part of the earth itself as a sign that this land will be the possession of you and your children forever."
Further information found here.
22 February, 2014
Yothu Yindi, Treaty (1991), Mushroom Records.
And I bet you all thought I would start with a Dan Sultan number — he'll be along shortly, no doubt — instead, I give you an important track from a band local to where I am currently located.
Yothu Yindi, a Yolngu band from North East Arnhem Land, released their song Treaty in 1991— it was the first song in an Aboriginal language (Yolngu-Matha) to gain international attention. The song documents the lack of progress of a treaty between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia as promised by Bob Hawke, then Australian Prime Minister, during the 1988 Bicentennial celebrations.
Bob Hawke visited the Arnhem Land region for the Barunga festival where Galarrwuy Yunupingu and Wenten Rubuntja presented him paintings and a document calling for Aboriginal rights, to become known as the Barunga Statement. Hawke responded to the statement by stating that there would be a treaty in place by 1990; this is yet to happen.