Yarrabah’s his­tory re­vealed in mu­sic

The Weekend Post - - News - DANAELLA WIVELL danaella.wivell@news.com.au

ASK any­one liv­ing at Yarrabah what the town’s an­nual fes­ti­val means to them and they’ll tell you the same thing – it’s all about the sto­ries of the lo­cals.

The Yarrabah Band Fes­ti­val was first brought to town in 2012 by Queens­land Mu­sic Fes­ti­val (QMF), but its his­tory stretches fur­ther than that.

Yarrabah Brass Band leader Greg Four­mile told the Cairns

Post the band’s roots could be traced back to 1901.

“This band is part of our iden­tity in Yarrabah. It’s a way to know our past,” he said.

“Ev­ery mem­ber who restarted the band in 2012 can trace a line through time to their own fam­ily mem­bers in the orig­i­nal band.”

Mr Four­mile said this week’s fes­ti­val would have a nod to that long his­tory hid­den in the set list.

“We have a trib­ute to the past band mem­bers. It’s a church hymn, and we’ll play it be­cause the band orig­i­nally started with the churches in 1901,” he said.

“From there the rest is his­tory.”

He said the town­ship was de­ter­mined to keep the mu­sic alive, no mat­ter whether its part­ner­ship with QMF came to an end one day.

“We’re in the process of es­tab­lish­ing a mu­sic pro­gram at a school-level and at a mu­si­clevel. We see it as a per­ma­nent fix­ture in Yarrabah for the fu­ture. We want to make sure the com­mu­nity al­ways has a mu­sic fes­ti­val.”

Tor­res Strait hip hop artist Mau Power, who will per­form at the event, said mu­sic was one of the strong­est con­nec­tions peo­ple liv­ing in in­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties.

“The way we use art is to doc­u­ment our cul­ture, from the Tor­res Strait Is­lands all the way to the desert. That’s how we share our com­mon­al­i­ties,” he said.

“From a young age I re­alised the art of hip hop is con­nected to in­dige­nous cul­tures.

“But when we make this mu­sic we do it to doc­u­ment our cul­ture.”

Yarrabah Band Fes­ti­val fea­tures Paul Kelly with sup­port from Vika and Linda Bull, elec­tron­ica pop artist KLP, Mau Power, Kira Puru, Black Im­age, the Yarrabah Brass Band and lo­cal bands.

The fes­ti­val runs from 1pm to­day at Ji­lara Oval. En­try is free, but a gold coin do­na­tion for the Yarrabah Sea­hawks Rugby League Club is wel­come.

BIG EVENT: Paul Kelly will head­line the Yarrabah Band Fes­ti­val to­day. Pic­ture: SUPPLIED

HIP HOP: Arthur Giso, Mau Power and Ge­orge Dow will per­form at Yarrabah to­day.

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