WAM heads to one of the most fertile songwriting areas in WA to uncover talent from the Kimberley region!

Song is historically strong in the many First Nations’ countries and cultures of the Kimberley region in Western Australia. Synonymously, the Kimberley region has a national and international reputation for producing contemporary music that is as iconic as the landscape itself. 

Sounds of The Kimberley was the second of nine new regional recording projects funded through the State Government of Western Australia’s Contemporary Music Fund. The projects 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 across WA’s nine regions.

The project was announced in June 2019, with ten Kimberley acts from across the region selected in July to take part in the project. The artists featured on the compilation include;

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)
Matalja (Broome)
Rocky Ridge Band (Wangkatjunka Community)
Monique Le Lievre (Broome)

Recording took place in September 2019, when our regional team headed to Djugun / Yawuru Country set up WAM’s pop-studio in an Old Pearler’s warehouse overlooking Roebuck Bay in Broome’s Chinatown. The ten artists worked alongside some of WA’s best producers and sound engineers, including Matt Giovannangelo, Andy LawsonJames Newhouse, Dan Carroll and Sean LillicoAs well as working with the artists, sometimes entering the studio for the first time, our sound engineers offered workshops and advice to locals and Kimberley based engineers looking to expand their knowledge and kick-off their careers. The result is a curated compilation album that provides a snapshot of the musical talent throughout the expansive Kimberley region, and the stories of people, communities and life in our state’s north.

The stunning album artwork featured on the limited-edition CD package was produced by Kimberley artist Barry Demi – the lead singer of legendary Halls Creek band Dodge City Boys. Having painted for over 25 years, Barry is the current chairperson of Halls Creek’s Yarlyil Art Centre and has had his work exhibited in galleries across Perth and the Kimberley.

Sounds of The Kimberley was set to be launched with the ten involved artists performing live at the iconic Sun Pictures Cinema in Broome’s Chinatown on Friday 8 May 2020 alongside a live broadcast from ABC’s state-wide Regional Drive program. The global COVID-19 crisis resulted in postponement of the event, with many of the artists featured on the compilation hailing from isolated and remote communities heavily affected by travel restrictions and community closures. 

Sounds of The Kimberley was released on Friday 24 April 2020 and is available now to stream on Spotify, Soundcloud, IndigiTUBE and other streaming platforms.

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