Track of the Day: Mambali – “Yuwani” ft. Emily Wurrumara (2019)

There is a treasure-trove of music from our First Nations’ people. Mambali are well known for fusing traditional cultural songs and rhythms, with contemporary sounds and beats. One of the more recent emerging talents is Emily Wurrumara, so it’s a delight to see a collaboration here between the traditional sounds of Mambali and the fresh voice of Emily. Mambali hail from Numbulwar, a small community on the western side of the Gulf of Carpentaria.  Emily was raised on the Island of Groote Eylandt, which is the largest island in the Gulf, and is the fourth largest in Australia.

The men from Mambali have had a strong relationship with Emily for years, and having her involved in “Yuwani” was like calling upon the services of a family-member to add a welcome female voice to the song.  It starts off with traditional percussion instruments and native-language (Nunggubuyu) song, then brings in some more contemporary sounds, and finally Emily’s enchanting voice melds in over the top. It’s a tremendous potpourri of vocals, beats and instruments.

Bradley Bara from Mambali explains:
“The collaboration with Emily was right. She is part of the family. She’s got connections right across from Numbulwar and Groote Island. Her grandmother was one of the artists from Bickerton Island and Groote Island. Her grandmother was one of the leaders for the Dhanbul song, which we also sing about but from the women’s side,” “We think that male artists in the Northern Territory need to collaborate more with female artists, and right across Australia. It creates more of a balance. There’s not enough of this type of collaboration. It also keeps the balance cos there’s so many male singers and performers.”

The band was kind enough to provide the translated lyrics for “Yuwan”, which we show below.

Mambali – Yuwani ft. Emily Wurramara
Yuwani Yuwani Yuwani The devil dance jumps, flicking the sand at Ayawurra
Here I stand, looking back where balai balai is.
I’m here now sharing the story and song line of the devil dance to Arnhem Land.
The devil dance jumps, flicking the sand at Ayawurra
Here I stand, looking back where balai balai is.
I’m here now sharing the story and song line of the devil dance to Arnhem Land.
Yuwani Yuwani Yuwani The devil dance jumps, flicking the sand at Ayawurra
Here I stand, looking back where balai balai is.
I’m here now sharing the story and song line of the devil dance to Arnhem Land.

Please take a listen to “Yuwani”, a wonderful blend of traditional and contemporary instruments and voices.

 

You can follow Mambali on their Facebook page and Emily on her Facebook page, and website

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Bruce Baker

Bruce is a keen cyclist, gig-goer and photographer. Instagram at @bruce_a_baker