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Alice Springs, NT
Warumpi Band, Bob Marley, lucky dube
Tjupi Band play energetic and emotive desert reggae and will be taking the stage at triple j's One Night Stand in Alice Springs! Singing in Luritja (as well as in English), they are the foremost musical inspiration for indigenous and non-indigenous people across the western desert.
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Interview: 22 March 2010
Tell us about your music - how did you develop your sound?
Jason Butcher: “We began as a three piece when my father Sammy was getting all the kids to sing and play, and he noticed what a good voice Barnabus had. So from there we started writing some songs; myself, my father and Barnabus. But before that we were all of us playing music together, like when we had the Little Orphans Band. In those days there was a lot of petrol sniffing amongst young people in our community, and so my father Sammy and us we were trying to get kids into music to help us and other kids stay away form sniffing”.
“Making our sound, we listened a lot to Lucky Dube, Peter Tosh and Bob Marley, and so we wanted to take our sound in that direction, making our own style of Desert Reggae. Apart from Warumpi Band, who we were always listening to and dancing to when we were growing up in Papunya, we got some influence from older fellas than us; like Sunshine Reggae Band in Haasts Bluff that is a community just near Papunya, and other bands like Saltwater Band from the Top End, and Youth Yindi”.
Can you tell us more about the story of Wati Kutju?
“That song says that one man is in jail. He is thinking about his family and his land. His wife and his little boy are worrying for him whilst he is in jail cause he is not there with them. That boy wants to see his father but he cant”.
What can the One Night Stand audience expect at a live show?
“Already all the local people in the desert region around Alice Springs know that we always put on a good show so everyone is dancing. Our shows are for little kids to dance and old ladies and men and everyone, no matter what colour or whatever age they are. Music is what brings people together. We try to give our message, so that something good can happen”.
What's coming up in the future?
“Actually, next week we are recording new songs to make our next album (our third album), in Papunya at Warumpi Studio. After this that should be the next step to move up, going forward, playing more. We will play again like we do every year at the Bush Bands Bash at the Alice Springs Desert Festival. Also later, in October, we are hoping to go to the Island Vibe festival near Brisbane, where there is a lot of indigenous bands and Reggae from all over. That will be a good chance to share our music with more people, over there on the east coast”.
What other Australian music do you like?
“Of course we grew up listening to Warumpi Band. Also Midnight Oil, Yothu Yindi, Coloured Stone. Nowadays a lot of other bands everywhere in Australia are making Reggae.. that’s good! Palya!“
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