• Olive Knight recently wrapped up an international tour with Hugh Jackman, where the blues singers brought her language to audiences in Europe and America. (NITV Our Stories)Source: NITV Our Stories
Kimberley singer Olive Knight reflects on her international tour with Hugh Jackman.
Rangi Hirini

15 Nov 2019 - 11:21 AM  UPDATED 15 Nov 2019 - 11:22 AM

West Australian musician Olive “Kankawa Nagarra” Knight had dreamt about touring the world since she was a little girl and earlier this year her dreams came true after she landed the gig of a lifetime.

In April, the Walmatjarri/Gooniyandi/Bunuba woman left her small community of Wangkatjungka, located 110 kilometers south-east of Fitzroy Crossing in the Kimberley, and took off to Europe to join one of Australia's most identifiable celebrities, Hugh Jackman. 

Ms Knight started the tour in Scotland before making her way through Europe with stops in Germany, France, England and Ireland.

The blues singer told NITV News the audience's reaction around Europe to her music was “tremendous.” 

“The feeling that I got was these people over there hadn’t seen much of Indigenous people,” Ms Knight said.

“I don’t think they even knew that we existed Down Under, so they were quite thrilled to hear that Indigenous people were still here surviving in this little country of ours,” she said. 

Ms Knight said she had always planned to leave her small community and make it big and had been “dreaming of cities way beyond the clouds.” However, her big break didn’t come until she was older. 

Ms Knight met Golden Globe winner Jackman in 2001 when she flew to New York to support her son at an art exhibition. 

“I actually fell in love with Hugh then when I saw him in Correlli and I thought 'who is this handsome guy?” she laughed.

“[But] he’s very humble and very loving and compassionate and kind, and he supports a lot of people,” Ms Knight said. 

Environmental message

Although the blues singer said she felt proud to share her language and culture with people across the world, her music also carried an underlying message Ms Knight wished to share with the world: that of protecting the environment.

“The land is crying for its people and the people are crying for the land,” she said. 

The Wangkatjungka community where Ms Knight resides is just one of 57 Aboriginal communities relying on the Fitzroy River for water and food.

“The Fitzroy River is in danger from pastoralists and people removing our water from the earth and we are living in a dangerous day with the climate that is changing," she said. 

“It's gonna be bad for us, even though we live with white man’s food, the thing is we still rely on our traditional hunting and our fishing."

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