Thanks to the readers who responded to my requests for leads on acquiring more indigenous music. Mary Durack of Art contemporain aborigene d’Australie in Paris pointed me to Chinatown Music Broome, a good source for music (in general) from the Kimberleys.
Kim Christen, an anthropologist from Washington State University in the northwest USA and author of the blog Long Road, sent me a link to the Barkly Region Arts website. there’s lots of interesting stuff to be found on this site, ranging from pictures of the Borroloola Rodeo in 2005 and the Tennant Creek Battle of the Bands to the Podomatic broadcasts from the Winajjikarri Music Centre, where you can hear interviews with Brian Murphy from the band Nomadic and Joe Davey from the Tableland Drifters. Winajjikarri’s coordinator, Jeff McLaughlin also provides some samples of his own music, performed under the nom-de-jeu of Dr Fluoride and his Cavity Search.
I’ve also discovered that the Australian iTunes store is searchable from the US. (Way at the bottom of the store is a button that allows you to select any one of the worldwide stores–something that had always been obscured by a window that I had sized too small on my screen!) Sadly, in order to purchase from the Australian store one must have a credit card with an Australian address, so I can’t avail myself of what’s on view. But at least I can listen to the clips and decide whether to continue searching for CD’s. (The restriction on purchasing has to do with the record labels’ contracts with Apple and concerns about copyright in the world market.) So, good news, bad news.
I should not leave without backtracking a step and urging you to check out Christen’s Long Road. It’s a great gateway to some exciting and interesting anthropology on the web and in the digital domain. I’d especially recommend that you have a look at Christen’s paper “Gone Digital: Aboriginal Remix and the Cultural Commons” and then check out the project Christen has been working on with Christopher Cooney, Digital Dynamics Across Cultures. It is described as “an interactive project focusing on cultural protocols of the Warumungu people from Central Australia,” more particularly in the Tennant Creek region. Great video interviews with women from the region, historical photographs, and more. I’ll be back with another look at this work in another post, but in the meantime, explore it for yourself.