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Sounds of The Kimberley: Selected Artists Announced

25 Jul

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WAM announces the 10 Artists selected to take part in the Sounds of The Kimberley Regional recording project!

Following an overwhelming response to the call for interest, WAM received 95 registrations from Kimberley based songwriters, acts/bands and sound engineers to be part of the project.

The selection of acts was a challenging process, considering the high number of artists and the pre-set criteria applied, which included, geographical location, six age categories, genre, gender and experience. Artists were selected from remote communities and major centres.

WAM are now excited to announce the 10 acts selected to record in Broome this September, including Arnold McKenzie (Derby), Damar Isherwood (Broome), Dodge City Boys (Halls Creek), Elly Ottenhoff (Kununurra), Hillside Band (Bayulu Community), Lenny Gordon (Yiyili Community), Main River Band (Girriyoowa Community), Monique Le Lievre (Broome), Rocky Ridge Band (Wangkatjunka Community), and Tornina Torres (Broome).

Regional Officer, Nigel Bird, said of the selection process:

“Choosing 10 from 95 was always going to be difficult, a positive spin on this is that these numbers highlight that there is a clear demand for this activity in the region”.

Renowned sound engineers and producers recording the project include, Dan Carroll (fresh from working with 16-time Grammy Award winning producer Tom Elmhirst in France) and his Rada Studios partner Matt Gio (San Cisco, Katy Steele), Debaser Studio’s Andy Lawson (Riley Pearce, The Money War), Real2Reel Studios’ James Newhouse (The Waifs), and Sean Lillico from Fur Real Studio.

Sounds of The Kimberley is the second of nine new regional recording projects, that focus on skills and development opportunities for local sound engineers and artists, with workshops offered in tracking and mixing techniques, as well as acoustic design and treatment. These projects will record up to 90 regional artists spanning WA’s nine regions across the next three years.

The final compilation will be released in 2020 on CD and digital streaming platforms and serviced to radio and music media nationally.

So far, WAM’s regional recording projects have uncovered 110 tracks that have been broadcast on radio stations across the country and racked up over 80,000 plays across digital streaming platforms.

WAM delivers Sounds of the Kimberley with the ongoing support of the WA State Government Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and Australia Council for the Arts.

Here’s a little moire about the Artists involved:

Damar Ishwood (Broome)

I am a 17 year old Student and head girl of Broome Senior High School. Currently, I’m employed causally at Target while I study full time on an ATAR course (University partway). I have experience in playing guitar and piano, but my predominant instrument is my vocals. I’m an out going, bubbly and confident teenager, always seeking new adventures to expand my career options and personal knowledge. I’m always a keen learner especially when it comes to music, however, I am looking at a career in either animal or mental health (psychology or zoology). I have written quite a few songs from young ages to current times, all in which I play either piano or guitar to accompany my vocals. I am always looking for new ways to potentially get recognition, knowledge and new experiences.

Rocky Ridge Band (Wangkatjunka Community)

Rocky Ridge Band are a family band from a remote Aboriginal community in the Fitzroy Valley, called Wangkatjungka. The group fuse together sounds of country music and desert reggae through catchy songs about their home and life in the Kimberley. The most notable achievement to date was recording the Desert Feet EP that is available on Soundcloud.

Arnold McKenzie (Derby)

I was born in Broome, 1960, and lived my early childhood in a place affectionately known to locals as “backa meatworks”. My later youth, I grew up on Guy St – again, the housing on Guy st. came with my father being granted “citizenship”. I went to Derby in 1977 and have been here since, with the odd life change in Kalgoorlie and living on my family’s block near Beagle Bay, on the Dampier Peninsula.

After playing in a few bands, I started a band called “Silhouette” in 1990-ish, with a few wayward youths. I think they benefited musically and we recorded an album. I also played in many cover bands in Derby over the years. Musically, I like to write about my journey, experiences and the places I have lived, as well as those persons of importance to me.    One of my goals is that I want to say something about and contribute to climate interference because of its effects on land.

Elly Ottenhoff (Kununurra)

I am a singer/songwriter. I began writing songs from the age of 14 when I first learned to play guitar. I grew up listening to a lot of old country music such as; George Jones, Jonny Cash, Tim McGraw, Allan Jackson, Tammy Wynett, Dolly Parton, The Judds and much more along those sounds. My own songs have that similar sound, that old, soulful, country feel. I have performed at some talent quests with some wins. I love to sing my own songs with my guitar but am open to the idea of singing in/with a band.

Dodge City Boys (Halls Creek)

The band is made up of five members who originated from Halls Creek in the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia. The band members are all skilled in different music instruments, and include Francis Birrell, Ronald Hudson, Donald Jnr Cox, Barry Demi, Cleeve Stretch and the manager/drummer George Demi – who is also a broadcaster for 6PRK radio in Halls Creek.

The Dodge City Boys started in 1995 and has played around the Kimberley’s festivals, parties and regular night gigs at various pubs. They’ve also performed across the Pilbara region at different festivals and pubs, playing a fusion of country and hard rock.

Anywhere you find the Dodge City Boys playing instantly becomes a dance floor with the crowd always begging for more! The music is professional and of rich quality with a unique style that can only come from the Dodge City Boys.

Monique Le Lievre (Broome)

I’m a born and bred Kimberley girl, Niykina Woman from Derby, now living in Broome. As well as being a music teacher for 16 years, I’ve worked in successful cover bands in Broome & surrounds for over 10 years.   I’ve been writing songs since I was 8 years old but have only just started being courageous enough to perform them, last year at our Goolarri Media’s ‘Mango Jammin’ and also at this year’s ‘Saltwater Festival’.  I write songs about people who inspire me, country, consciousness and of course we can’t forget love!

Tornina Torres (Broome)

My sound stems from my life experiences and the music that I have been exposed to since birth. My mother would sing lullabies in English and our tribal languages of Djugan, Yawuru and Jabirr-Jabirr. These later helped to influence my creative writings. Throughout my life I was always surrounded by music. If it wasn’t my mother playing Soul, Jazz and Motown from the 50’s-90’s, and my siblings blasting Hip-Hop, R&B and Pop from the 2000’s. I gradually built up my own taste, taking from each genre, the songs that resonated with me.  What started out as diary entries and poetry, become the lyrics to the melodies I had floating around my head. After studying Aboriginal Theatre at WAAPA in 2013 and participating in stage plays/films, I built up the confidence to sing for an audience. I continued to create originals throughout the years whilst building experience in performing. Eventually I decided to study a diploma in Audio Production to learn how to produce my own tracks. Since then I have been working with musicians to create instrumental melodies for my songs.

Lenny Gordon (Yiyili Community)

I write my original songs based on what I see and experience around me throughout my life journey. I try to capture my connection to my country, land, languages and culture through my songs.

Government of Western Australia Department of Culture and The Arts Australian Government

WAM is supported by the State Government through the Department of Culture and the Arts, and is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.