In one of West Australian Music (WAM)’s most far-reaching projects to date, artists from the Goldfields-Esperance area have been recorded in a double album that captures, among other sounds, a style of reggae unique to the desert.
- The album, titled Demos from the Ngaanyatjarra Lands and Esperance, features 23 tracks from local artists
- The demos were recorded during West Australian Music’s most remote regional recording schedule to date
- The album was released on Thursday, hoping it will give artists a leg up in the music industry
Entitled Demos from the Ngaanyatjarra Lands and Esperance, it is the 15th compilation of WAM’s regional recording project.
Musicians from Esperance and Warburton were given the opportunity to record for free with some of WA’s top producers and sound engineers, creating an album that WAM Regional Manager Nigel Bird says is truly reflective of each region.
“Ngaanyatjarra Lands is part of the central desert areas of Australia, and this part of the world, probably over the last 20, 30 years, has been part of a phenomenon where a style of music has overtaken,” he said. he declares.
“Most of the songs are sung in Ngaanyatjarra, maybe a bit of Pitjantjatjara and they are often about countries, places, fruits, some of the tracks are about all the different bush foods.”
Mr Bird said the Esperance album, which featured nine artists, highlighted the mix of genres present in the small community’s growing music scene.
“On this album, we have hip hop, we have rock, we have indie rock, we have great indie pop folk stuff, there’s a bit of hard rock, there’s blues,” he said. -he declares.
A thriving music scene
Esperance rapper Morgan Kelly, who goes by the name Dr Tasty, recorded her track, Hopscotch, for the album.
Ms Kelly hoped the new track would help revive her music career after everything came to a halt at the start of the pandemic.
“I signed with a record label in Perth on a one-year contract at the end of 2019,” she said.
“I’m still in contact with them and hopefully it will pick up again.”
Arid Ones vocalist and bassist Cooper Jarzabek said it was the first time the band, which contributed the song Death Row to the album, had recorded since forming two years ago.
The 18-year-old said Esperance’s music scene – led largely by musician Kyron Smithson and his event management company, Kyza Presents – helped the band prepare to record.
“Before I was born, there wasn’t much of a music scene, but this man’s Kyza came along and shook everything up,” Mr Jarzabek said.
“We had the idea to make the band, but we weren’t very good songwriters and he gave us a boost.
“He plays for this other band, Grand Casual, and they’ve basically been like our grandfathers, our daddies, showing us what to do and showing us the ropes and giving us gigs and stuff.”
The “blown away” engineers
Mr Bird said they spent nine days recording at each unique location, but the musicianship and recording knowledge of artists from the remote Aboriginal community of Warburton blew the sound engineers away.
“A number of artists there were so fast, so quick,” he said.
Demos of Ngaanyatjarra Lands were recorded at Wilurarra Creative in Warburton, a multipurpose community space for the arts.
“Wilurarra Creative is a shining star and not just in the Ngaanyatjarra lands, not just in the Goldfields-Esperance region, but across Western Australia,” Mr Bird said.
“They’re so supportive of the community and it’s hard to be seen because they’re all over there and in Warburton – so I guess not many people see how much work they do there.”
A useful start
The WAM Regional Recording Project was started in 2006 by Nigel Bird, George Nikoloudis and the late Shaun O’Callaghan
Mr Bird said it has already helped other musicians get their start in the industry.
“A good example is our Sounds of the Mid West, where we had a young artist who left and recorded her next EP after recording her very first song,” he said.
“It’s fantastic to see some artists building a songwriting career and a career as an artist from their first recording with the WAM program.”