is the third album by indigenous Australian rock-stars
like a highly awaited spring-time, comes the new album
by Saltwater Band. Titled MALK, the Yolngu word for
skin-name or kin, the album is Saltwater band’s
third release in 15 years.
band consists of eight Yolngu musicians from Galiwink’ku
Elcho Island, lead by Manual Dhurrkay [pronounced
door-kay] and featuring multiple award winning artist
Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu. These two singer/songwriters
are often [humorously] referred to as the Lennon and
McCartney of N.E. Arnhem Land. Together they write
in a style that combines traditional songs with reggae/ska-influenced
pop. The unique combination of Manuel’s catchy
pop-song arrangements with Gurrumul’s traditional
style has built a strong following in Northern Australia
where the band has sold more than 30,000 copies of
their previous two albums Gapu Damurrun and Djarridjarri/Blue
their music, the band aims to reach as broad an audience
as possible and to strengthen and influence their
own communities. Their songs serve to pass on to the
younger members of their communities their traditional
stories and values and, instead of traditional culture
being swamped by western influence, the traditional
culture in this case has adapted to the 'new way'
and is able to compete with western music. This enables
a community to pass on to the next generation the
important songs of their culture.
to an ARIA Award nomination for Best World Music,
multiple Indigenous Music Awards, two Deadly Awards
for Best Album and Best Band along with a knock out
performance at the Byron Bay Blues Festival, the band
has begun to attract the attention of the mainstream
track Malk is an exuberant anthemic arrangement that
features Natalie Pa’apa’a [Blue King Brown]
who lends her strong vocal to what is a radio favourite.
The song is a call to Yolngu saying ‘look at
us, we are Yolngu, we are strong, unified and together
we know our place in society and in the world’,
and the remix [Our Skin] by Groove Terminator is sure
to be a spring/summer dance-floor favourite. MALK
is a unifying title for a people and a collective,
which is what this album embodies.
prior to Gurrumul’s international solo success,
MALK is a collection of songs with a sound that combines
the band’s first two recordings and includes
a number of songs found on Gurrumul’s debut
album albeit in a different, more upbeat mood. Co-produced
by Michael Hohnen and recorded mainly during the Commonwealth
Games in Melbourne, this is essentially an islander
reggae album with a collection of songs which showcase
a strong fusion of modern music with the spirit of
the Gumatj people, language and culture.
debuted on the singer/songwriter charts at no. 3 on
the day of its Australian release.
star review for MALK… “The result
is Aboriginal music as never heard before, a true
synthesis of the deep traditionalism of Elcho Island
with such non-Aboriginal elements as string quartet
[Baywara] and horns [Marwurrumburr]." Sydney
Morning Herald - Spectrum
“Yesterday I heard one of the most joyous
and uplifting songs I'd come across in a long time,
even though I couldn't understand most of the lyrics.
Of course that's the great thing about music: it transcends
language and culture. I can't speak the Yolgnu language,
but there's so much joy and ebullience in Saltwater
Band's 'Yolgnu Island Dancer' that it doesn't matter
that I can't understand what they're singing, it still
makes me feel extremely happy.” Triple
J radio – Home & Hosed – Sep 2010.
is an inspiring mix of the modern with musical traditions
that date back tens of thousands of years. As he did
on Gurrumul’s internationally beloved album,
producer Michael Hohnen allows these beautiful melodies
and singing to shine and grow with new backing, this
time by adding horns and strings to Saltwater’s
graceful Top End Reggae grooves."
Lucky Oceans – ABC RN – The Daily Planet.