• Yiyili Aboriginal Community School is working to help youth celebrate the importance of importance of Gooniyandi country, language and family through Hip Hop. (NITV News)Source: NITV News
An Aboriginal language on the brink of survival is being revived through a new music project.
Laura Morelli

7 Jul 2017 - 2:58 PM  UPDATED 7 Jul 2017 - 3:33 PM

Yiyili Aboriginal Community School has collaborated with Indigenous Hip Hop Projects (IHHP), to record a song in Gooniyandi, promoting culture, country, language and history.

The song launch titled, Yiyili Mawoolie, coincides with NAIDOC Week celebrations as well as Yiyili Aboriginal Community School's 35 year anniversary. 

Gooniyandi people have been the custodians of their language and country for thousands of years, however like most Aboriginal languages, theirs is at risk of being lost. 

This is why Yiyili Aboriginal Community School Principal, Alex Mountford says language projects like these are crucial. 

"Gooniyandi is on the brink of survival, which is why we need language projects that inspire the next generation," she said.

"The community are so proud of this - they are putting an enormous effort into keeping Gooniyandi alive as it is now only really spoken by elders."  

The project, guided by Paul Cox and Frances Dawson, aims to stregnthen Aboriginal language and culture and was shot in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Yiyili Mawoolie, meaning Yiyili Children, sees the song recorded entirely in Gooniyandi language.

"Here language put down, language we put down on paper, language here we put down in song!"

Yiyili Mawoolie is a reinvention of a former Gooniyandi song written by local elders in the 1980's. The song, also sung by Leon Cox (Walkabout Boys), Alinta Riley and Sharona Hester was written for and dedicated to all Gooniyandi people past and present. 

"We speak Gooniyandi language. Long time ago we all spoke language to our children,"

"Our poor country, knowledge has gone missing. Biggest mob together strong spirit flows strong and fast through our land," and

"Here language put down, language we put down on paper, language here we put down in song!" ,are just some of the lyrics translated.

The 2017 National NAIDOC Theme is Our Languages Matter and a focus is on the importance, resilience and richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

Some 250 distinct Indigenous language groups covered the continent at first (significant) European contact in the late eighteenth century. Most of these languages would have had several dialects, so that the total number of named varieties would have run to many hundreds.

Today only around 120 of those languages are still spoken and many are at risk of being lost as Elders pass on. Alex says she hopes projects like this inspire the next generation to learn and use their language and culture. 

"Those who have paved the way and left a legacy of a rich language and proud culture will be able to be treasured and continually celebrated by future generations," she said.

"We are really proud of this Music Video and please share, like, post repost and spread this beautiful language and country across the world."

Yiyili Mawoolie - Gooniyandi Lyrics

Spoken Word- Elder Francis Dawson

Ngindaji Yardi

Thangarndi Gooniyandi_Ngarri

Ngarranggarni Yaadi Binjadi Jiyaebirri

Yaadi Mawily_yoo

CHORUS- Leon Cox

Yiyili mawoolyi

boorojgilawoorroo , boorojgilawoorroo

Yiyili mawoolyi

Wanga Wanga

Ngindaji mawoolyi


Ngindaji mawoolyi


Verse one

Ngindaji waranggarra (Alinta Rieley)


Boogalangi riwiya,

Binarri Garrig

Yaadi Garndiwangaroo (Sherona Hester)

Binjadi birliri

Loorriri Thirrili

Binyi Yardi Riwi_ya

Ngindaji thangarndi yoodarra, (Shenille Benny)

Thangarndi ngindaji goorroomba,

Thangarndi ngindaji Joonba_ya ,

Thangarndi ngindaji Joonba_ya ,

Pre chorus x 2 Francis, Paul, Javon, (group)

Ngaboo Ngarranyi, Jaja, Jaminyi,

Marni, Marna Gooniyandiingarri,

CHORUS- Leon Cox
Verse two

Ngirndaji yaadi mawilyi (Lathenso Dawson)

Boowoorroongoo ngarri

Bindirri binyji walibirri_ya

Nganyi Dawangarri Ngirndaji riwiyoo (Francis Dawson)

Yidirla Moonggoowarla Barrangga

Ngangbidi Yardi Manyi Maa

Ngamoonhingi Yaningi

Thirroo Galamooda Gawi Lagarndi

Balga Bila Ngalinya Wawanyi

Roowa Loorroob Nyagboo

Wayandi Girrd Wab Ngabnga

Pre chorus x 2 Francis, Paul, Javon, (group)

CHORUS- Leon Cox

(Traditional Break Down) Clap Stick, Didge, Traditional Dancing

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