Tjupi (Honey Ant) come from Papunya, 250 km NW of Alice Springs. The Tjupi Band play energetic and emotive desert reggae. Singing in Luritja (as well as in English), they are the foremost musical inspiration for people across Central Australia.
Tjupi Band in many ways epitomises Central Australian desert reggae – sparse upbeat, driving kick and snare, in-language; the songs are about loneliness for country, love lost, listening to Elders, following tradition, social issues, skin pride, tribal unity and, most importantly, pride of culture. From growing up learning from the members of Warumpi Band, they form part of the new wave of uniquely Indigenous Australian reggae; alongside other musical innovators such as Saltwater Band and Letterstick Band.
Artback NT supported the band’s pitch at Long Paddock in April and at the Bush Bands’ Bash and Bush Bands’ Business at Ross River in September. Assisted by Artback NT, Tjupi Band attended the Festival of Pacific Arts in the Solomon Islands and headlined the Sandtracks Tour.
The Festival Of Pacific Arts in Honiara, Solomon Islands was the band’s first overseas trip. Representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as part of the Australian delegation, Tjupi Band performed at key events and had their largest audience to date of over 12,000 people. Their schedule included parties at the Australian Consulates house and marching in an opening ceremony, where band member Ethan McDonald was chosen to carry the Australian flag.
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“Love the harmonies on this – it paints such a rich picture of how inland Australia sounds. It cruises along simply but beautifully. rating: 4/5”Richard Kingsmill of Triple J describes the song Wati Kutjungku;