• Yarrabah Band Festival (Queensland Music Festival)Source: Queensland Music Festival
A tropical Indigenous community may seem like an unusual place to hear the blares of a popular brass band.
By
AAP

16 Nov 2015 - 2:08 PM  UPDATED 16 Nov 2015 - 2:08 PM

But in Yarrabah the sounds of trumpets are a tie to ancestors and a source of great pride.

The community of around 2,500 near Cairns was home to a much-loved brass band from 1901 until the 1950s, when the group's disbanding ended the tradition for decades.

 

But in 2013, enthusiastic locals contacted the Queensland Music Festival asking for help to form a new group.

Its inexperienced members had eight weeks to pull off a debut performance at the first Yarrabah Band Festival.

"It's a big pride thing to carry on a tradition like this," saxophonist Paul Neal, who joined the band after being injured playing rugby league, told AAP at the third Yarrabah festival on Saturday.

"The history behind the brass band ... gives a sense of belonging and empowerment to the community".

For decades, the original missionary-founded band - known as one of the best in the state - spread Yarrabah's sound along the east coast.

Mary Kyle, whose grandmother played in one of the community's previous bands, had intended to be the new group's tea lady but "jumped on the flute" when instruments were left spare.

Now, she expects her grandchildren will join next year.

"They say without a vision you can perish," she said.

"We've (the band) got an aim in life and a vision."

News of the band and its festival has prompted other indigenous communities to contact the festival asking if they could have their historical brass bands revived.

QMF's artistic director, trumpeter James Morrison, said he'd like to see a resurgence of all of them.

The Yarrabah Band Festival, which includes performances from Mr Morrison, featured Melbourne-based Blue King Brown as it celebrated its third year at the weekend.