Black Rock Band are emerging as a national touring First Nations rock band featuring original music from the Northern Territory’s Top End. Drawing on deep musical family history, they incorporate traditional and contemporary sounds, singing in both Kunwinjku and English.
Black Rock Band’s songs are a celebration of culture, connection to country, the fight for social justice and the future they want to create for the next generation.
With songs like Struggle, Learning on Country and their first recording Bininj Kunborrk, literally translating to Traditional Song and Dance, the band sing about their families’ cultural richness as well as contemporary social and political issues that reflect their experience as First Nations people. Their anthem Red Black and Yellow – a comment on January 26 – is energizing fans at live concerts alongside messages of hope and stories drawn from their life experiences.
In 2016, Andy Baldwin (Rola Pola Studios, USA) witnessed the band’s performance at Barunga Festival and was so impressed he offered to record Bininj Kunborrk. The single spread through the communities of Arnhem Land and has since been included on the Bush Bands 2017 compilation CD, featured on Triple J Unearthed, ICTV and played on radio stations across the country.
Since their inclusion in the Music NT Bush Bands Bash program in 2017, Black Rock Band’s body of work has continued to grow with the release of their first and second singles with accompanying film clips. In May 2018, the band released their debut album entitled ‘Struggle’ with David Bridie’s Wantok Musik Foundation. The album was recorded with Andy Baldwin at Subsonic Studios in Darwin, at Kapalga Outstation in Kakadu National Park and was mastered by Joe La Porta (Sterling Sound NY).
Live crowds are entranced by their on-stage style as the boys picked up Best Community Band at Barunga Festival in 2017 and played to a sold-out crowd the same year at Melbourne’s Spiegeltent, alongside artist Yirrmal (Yirrkala) and contemporary folk outfit The Mae Trio. The band make regular Top End appearances including at Mayali Mulil Festival and Mahbilil Festival. Earlier this year they performed to large audiences at MONA FOMA Festival (Tas), Nannup Music Festival (WA) and a south-east coast tour which included an artist-in-residence program at Sydney’s prestigious St Ignatius College, Riverview, and album launches in both Sydney and Melbourne.