Introducing Kardajala Kirridarra & their absorbing new single, Ngabaju (Grandmothers Song)
It's the first taste of their upcoming self-titled debut album.
In the short time they've been in existence, Kardajala Kirridarra have already won the NT Song Of The Year Award, played at Golden Plains, Wide Open Spaces and Barunga Festivals, and were the first all female band to appear at Bush Bands Bash in 2016. This week they announced they'll be releasing their self-titled debut album, on July 7, and gave the world its first listen of what to expect with new single, Ngabaju (Grandmothers Song). With a dreamy blend of electronica that's in both Mudburra and English, it's an enchanting listen. We wanted to get to know them better before that album comes out, so we sent them some introductory questions to find out more:
Tell us about about yourselves?
We are from the communities of Marlinja and Kulumindini (Elliott), which is about halfway between Alice Springs and Darwin in the Northern Territory. Beatrice is from Melbourne but spends half her time out here with us, she has a skin name now and knows how everyone has their lalija (tea): Janey ‘Namija’ Dixon has black tea with a little bit of cold water to cool it, Eleanor ‘Nalyirri’ Dixon and Beatrice ‘Nalyirri’ Lewis have our tea the same, milk with no sugar and very rarely but sometimes a bit of honey and MC Kayla Jackson is all about the cold drinks.
Beatrice was brought up here by the Barkly Regional Council’s ‘Barkly Desert Cultures’ program, a multimedia youth development project. It was through this project that Eleanor and Beatrice met and they instantly bonded over a mutual love of lalaija and music. Beatrice showed Eleanor Bjork and Ibeyi and Eleanor showed Beatrice bush medicine and the desert. Together they began the Kardajala Kirridarra story… A bit further down the line Eleanor’s aunty Janey came into the group as the key translator and cultural guide, MC Kayla Jackson joined and brought the mad powerful gangsta hustle.
What’s the vibe music-wise?
The vibe is pretty magical… It has the ancient story and feelings of the country we are from. A story that connects women to the earth through the feelings of creation and life. It is a combination of this depth of traditional desert life with the more modern tools of Ableton and synths as well as sampled sounds from the desert around us like seed pods and summer thunderstorms. The music comes from Beatrice and Eleanor writing together in Marlinja, Elliott and Tennant Creek over a year or so, mainly in a old clinic out the back of Marlinja in the summer. We had to turn of the air-conditioning to record anything and then get sweaty and light headed til we hurried and finished recording to turn it back on. We then took the songs down to Melbourne where Monkey Marc and Beatrice engineered and mastered it.
Vocally we have written lyrics in both Mudburra and English, we then worked with Janey to correct the translations. We started off with writing lyrics like poems, the way we speak our language is in a poetic and rhythmic way so we wanted to create music that helped to project that. A really big part of this project is to keep the Mudburra language going and for people to hear how beautiful it is when spoken.
Can you tell us about your new single, Ngabaju (Grandmother’s Song)?
The album songs are all connected through the story of being a woman of this world. The album is to empower women in all aspects of their role as creators from young girls through to being mothers and grandmothers. Ngabaju means Grandmother, it's an important song because we always reflect on the times when our grandmothers told us creation stories and gave us lectures about how to be a woman but not just any kind of woman, a woman of truth and a mother of all things living.
What’s the rest of the year have in store?
It's a pretty exciting year ahead… We are releasing our 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. It's 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. We’re really excited about that! 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.
Where can we hear more of your music?
Our debut album Kardajala Kirridarra will be released on July 7, in the meantime, you can listen to our music on triple j UNEARTHED, SOUNDCLOUD and/or SPOTIFY.
Follow Kardajala Kirridarra: FACEBOOK