The community of Kalumburu in Western Australia’s top end has collaborated for a new music video, produced by Indigenous Hip Hop Projects, where locals rap and sing about their appreciation and love for home.
Located more than 550 kilometres north-west of Kununurra, Kalumburu is the remotest community in WA. During the wet season access to the community is often completely cut off.
Last year, the local youth program requested performance and arts company Indigenous Hip Hop Projects (IHHP) to make a two-phased trip to the remote community. The first phase – to engage the kids – was completed in July. The second phase intended to focus more on the culture.
Senior Elder for Kalumburu, Pop Clement Maraltabj told NITV it was important for the Elders to teach the kids about their culture.
“We teach a little bit of our culture to the young ones, they spread it out to other communities,” he said.
“When the old people pass away, it would be good if the young people can carry our culture because it’s important for an Aborigine to keep the culture alive.”
Last month, IHHP made their second trip to the remote community to film a music video with the locals. IHHP’s co-director Dion Brownfield told NITV’s The Point the community just wanted to show off their country and culture.
It took a week to film the music video for ‘Heart of Our Country' which showcases some of the community’s scared spots such as Paradise Pool and shows local culture through Traditional Aboriginal language and dance.
“Every single second of the music video required cultural safety, scrutiny and permissions,” Mr Brownfield said.
“There’s a lot of language that needed to be approved and trying to come up with a balance to keep everyone happy was a really big challenge for Mike and the crew, but we got there in the end and I think the result is something that’s just breathtaking.”
Kwini (Kuini) and Kulari people occupy the land, and in recent years other groups have also moved into the area.
Kalumburu played a strategic role in World War II, on September 27 1843, Japanese war planes bombed and strafed the airfield and mission killing 6 people, including 4 children. Following this incident, the airfield was moved 32km north-west to the Anjo Peninsula.
Local woman Margot Peurmora, who stars in two sections of the music video, said recognising the town’s history was also important for the locals.
“We have actually survived and struggled through things, our ancestors and our elders have survived, now they have shown us and it’s translated to each and every one of us,” she told NITV.
“We don’t want to lose all that.Wwe want to keep it under our feet. We’ve been connected to everything that we have survived from."
Established in 2005, IHHP has travelled to every state and territory working with First Nation’s people to promote healthy lifestyles through performance and art outcomes such as music videos and festivals. Most of IHHP’s music videos are community service announcements based on issues in the community such as gambling, drinking, and domestic violence.
“Its always driven by the community. We just go there and guide them through the process. That’s all our role is, is to help them and guide them through how to tell the story in the best way and try and bring out the best in everyone,” Mr Brownfield said.
Indigenous Hip Hop Projects’ YouTube channel has had more than 7 million views and over 24,000 subscribers, but the lasting impacts of the company coming into community sometimes can’t be seen on paper or through online analytics.
“We’re getting flooded with emails daily from teachers saying, ‘we love these videos, the kids watch them every day and they use them as little incentives, we say if you get this done you can watch another IHHP video’,” he said.
“And there’s also stuff like, one or two kids in particular who might get a really big confidence boost out of it, there might be kids who are suffering some trauma and within little moments in our project, they might get something out of it too.”
The company also focuses on providing a safe space for Indigenous youths and allow them to have fun and express themselves.
“Life can be pretty tough, there’s a lot of struggles going on for a lot of people, there’s a narrative of poverty across the country which is hidden in these isolated spots in our own backyards,” Mr Brownfield said.
“[It’s] a shame on our country, on our government and policies, so for us, it’s about creating some fun, hope, love and respect.”
- For more in music and mob, watch tonight's episode of The Point at 8.30pm on NITV Ch34 featuring special guests Alice Skye and Dallas Woods.