An Aboriginal music touring project is bringing contemporary music and culture to some of our most hard to reach areas.

17 January 2019

The hugely successful Sand Tracks project gives remote communities the chance to experience contemporary live performance where they live and in language.

Now in its 10th year, the project involves the creation of a new list of bands each year for communities to vote on. The band with the most votes is then invited to headline the Sand Tracks tour; teamed with a young emerging Aboriginal band from central Australia, selected from Music NT's previous year's Bush Bands as the support act.

The two bands spend three weeks touring through Australia's remote desert region delivering live performances accompanied by music and culture workshops, giving Aboriginal audiences and artists new opportunities to celebrate culture and community.

The project has helped to support the careers of a number of Aboriginal artists, including Galiwin'ku's legendary Saltwater Band, who proudly brought their sound back to the country's centre to headline the tour last year.

Saltwater Band is one of the Northern Territory's most acclaimed bands, having sold over 30,000 albums and received the prestigious Deadly's 'Album of the Year'. They have also been nominated for an ARIA and toured extensively across Australia.

On the tour the band was supported by the up and coming Black Rock Band from West Arnhem, who recently released their debut album 'Struggle'. Black Rock Band sing in Kunwinjku and English about their culture, connection to country, the fight for social justice and the future they want to create.

The Sand Tracks Project is presented by Country Arts WA and Act Belong Commit and funded through the Government's Indigenous Languages and Arts Program, which helps communities to express their culture through creating art and preserving languages.

In Australia, there are only 120 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages which are still spoken and 90% of these are considered endangered.

This year is the International Year of Indigenous Languages (IY2019), a chance to raise awareness of the crucial role of the world's Indigenous languages and the need to preserve and share them.

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