• Multi-award winning Electric Fields will headline this year’s Garrmalang Festival. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
The Garrmalang Festival returns to the Darwin Entertainment Centre with First Nations music, art, dance and important conversations.
Emily Nicol

30 May 2021 - 11:06 AM  UPDATED 30 May 2021 - 11:08 AM

One of the country’s most exciting acts will be headlining this weekend's Garrmalang Festival, which is returning to the Darwin Entertainment Centre after a two-year hiatus.

Electric Fields duo – vocalist Zaacharaiah Fielding and producer/keyboard player Michael Ross– will be a highlight of the two-day program, bringing their unique brand of electro-soul.

Ross spoke to NITV ahead of Saturday night's performance and said that after the tumultuous year that was 2020, their priorities in 2021 have been a little different.

"We've been lucky that 2021 has become busy with commissions and collaborations. So we're grateful to be working on projects we believe in," Ross says.

"Outside of music we've both been focusing on physical health. Keeping the body healthy has become a hobby of ours. Zaachariaha has also been dedicating time to painting art on canvas. It's become a type of active and creative meditation."

With their recently announced involvement in Sydney's popular VIVID Festival, providing the soundtrack to the popular 'lighting of the sails' projection on the Sydney Opera House, a huge opportunity for the duo, Ross hinted at more to come in the next few months.

"We're working on a bunch of things at the moment. Most of them we can't say right now but they'll be heard and seen in the coming months. A collab about intergenerational cycles, a song for sleeping and some Gold Energy that will light up an Australian landmark."

In recent months with many live gigs having been cancelled or up in the air,  many artists have felt hesitant to sign on to perform in the midst of border closures, and Ross says the duo have experienced some disappointment,  but their connection to Garrmalang and it's organisers made the decision to come on board an easy one.

"The whole border closures have been both positive and negative. It's been difficult when things are cancelled or we only find out we're able to do a show the week before it happens. But we've also been able to enjoy our time off and a more relaxed schedule."

"We're looking forward to Garramalang heaps! It's such beautiful country out there and we're got friends involved in putting the event on. "

Ross and Fielding are excited to be getting on stage in one of their favourite cities to visit.

We'll be bringing a big energy for dancing, some traditional inma songs that we've reimagined and performing our new single that's not even released yet.

The only dedicated First Nations festival to take place in Darwin, in a media release Garrmalang's co-creative director Ben Graetz said that everyone involved are excited to be presenting a live event with cultural significance.

"With something for everyone, Garrmalang showcases the very best Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and performers the Northern Territory and Australia has to offer. This festival also shows that as First Peoples of this country, we are a surviving, thriving and an extraordinarily diverse group of people." said Graetz.

The diverse two-day program opens with an Elders Tea and covers photography, fashion, panel talks, live music and comedy.

The event will be closed on Sunday night with the Big Blak Dot Comedy Spectacular, hosted by Constantina Bush, bringing together comedians from the Deadly Darwin collective, plus special guests including Richie Fejo and Aunty June Mills.

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