A brand new festival series is set to take place over three weekends in Beswick a remote Aboriginal community in West Arnhem Land up the road from Barunga. The best bit? Its music element was programmed by artist manager and publicist Chryss Carr and showcases Indigenous talent from across Australia.

The inaugural “Djarmalak; come together: Concerts on Country” will be held over three weekends this dry season, with events in May, June and July. Beswick will be the first community in the NT to host such an event.

Highly awarded and acclaimed Mojo Juju, triple j favourite Kira Puru, Jimblah, The Merindas, hip hop group Oetha, Beswick’s own Wugularr Drifters, and Black Crow, a young Wagilak group from Roper River, are among those performing.

the merindas
The Merindas

A Djilpin Arts spokesperson said the series is a homage to their late founding and artistic director Balang T E Lewis.

“‘Culture as identity, art as medicine’, was his consistent message to community and visitors alike,” said the spokesperson.

“Cutting-edge Indigenous performance combined with the dynamics and persistence of traditional practice, Djarmalak is a special invitation from the heart of the community and resonates Balang’s belief that culture is everyone’s responsibility”.

Speaking to TIO, artist manager, publicist and Concerts on Country music programmer Chryss Carr said she was inspired by the recent rise of the music sisterhood in the industry.

“It’d come at a time when I was having a challenging time and knowing there was a rising sisterhood made me feel safer. So when Djilpin Arts – who are longterm colleagues – rang to ask if I could help program the music line up for a series of one day festivals across three months up in the NT I naturally turned to the Indigenous ladies in the house.”

Mojo Juju 2019 press
Mojo Juju

Carr said she was at the ‘One of One’ networking breakfast on International Women’s Day last month when the idea came to her: “The thought was clear as a bell in my mind- let’s have Indigenous females headline the damn lot. And let’s get the brothabois who respect and love women to support them.”

Carr said she was inspired by women like Leanne De Souza and women who run One of One to take on the task.

“I was able to pull the program together seamlessly,” she said, “swiftly and with such good will, it was a positive blast. In fact my job was really easy because so many First Nations females are currently emerging or on the rise and all of them loved the idea of performing at a remote Aboriginal community where people over profit is the mantra.”

Carr told TIO that the programming process brought to light another important gap in the market, which needs addressing:

“During the process of pulling together and checking fees generally I was surprised to see the female fees where somewhat lower than their male counterparts but that’s a different conversation.”

Concerts on Country

 25th May 
Kira Puru
Black Crow [Young Wagilak group from Roper River]
DJ set

 22nd June 
The Merindas
Jimblah
DJ set

 27th July
Mojo Juju
Oetha
Lady Lash DJ Set

Tickets are limited, Book online now at www.shakespeareaustralia.com.au

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