The challenge of making music in remote communities

Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 08:01:52 AM. Music is a way of life for some living in Australia's most remote Indigenous communities, but the challenges they face to get gear are immense.
Photo: Getting musical gear to the remote community of Kiwirrkurra can pose a logistical headache for suppliers. (Supplied: Duane Preston) It was no secret that Indigenous band Lonely Boys were playing on borrowed instruments when they supported Queens of the Stone Age earlier this year. Although they were sharing a stage with one of contemporary rock music's biggest acts, musicians from remote communities are for the most part used to sharing. And the healthy local music scenes of these communities — where lyrics send positive messages and are often recorded in local languages — have begun to catch the ears of east coast tastemakers. "It just feels like the Territory scene is on the up," Mark Smith, executive director of peak body Music NT, said. "Having 10 bands at Nannup [Music Festival] last year and four bands showcasing at BIGSOUND this year — that really hasn't happened before." But when it comes to the challenges remote bands face, their issues are far removed from the east coast. "I'm a drummer in Darwin, and even if you bust a skin, sometimes the shop here might not have it so you have to order from interstate," Mr Smith said. Photo: Mark Smith, from Music NT, has been raising funds to deliver musical gear to bands in remote communities. (ABC Radio Darwin: Jesse Thompson) The wait and cost can be extensive for remote locations, so Music NT has been raising money to address the logistical headache of providing such areas with access to musical equipment. "That's...Read more
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