Too Much Humbug

Warumpi Band

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Warumpi Band

Too Much Humbug


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Track List:

Publisher No.:
CAAMA - number not known

Warumpi Band is a passionate and well known aboriginal band, better known overseas perhaps by its association with Midnight Oil and their Blackfella-Whitefella tour of the outback years ago. The band is headed by Neil Murray and George Djilaynga. Djilaynga is formerly from Elcho Island in north-east Arnhem Land and currently settled in central Oz, and is of the Gumatj clan, like Mandawuy Yunupingu of Yothu Yindi. However, Mandawuy and Djilaynga belong to different divisions of the Gumatj clan...the complexities of social organisation! Neil Murray is a noted musician in his own right. Other band members, who I do not know as well, are mainly from central Australian tribes, I think. Thus, Warumpi is indeed quite a mix of cultures and their music is equally varied, especially in this most recent release (they have two other albums under their belts, or maybe three). Warumpi may perhaps be classed as a Rock and Roll band, but they are more than that. They sing in the vernacular of central Australia and north-east Arnhem Land, they play Country and Western, there is a definite jazz sound in some tracks, and a couple of songs lean towards heavy metal. The didjeridu is featured occasionally in all albums but is more subdued than with Yothu Yindi. What I really like in "Too Much Humbug" are the tracks "Wayathul", "Marrayilyil", "Djulpan" and "Makes You Feel". "Wayathul" gives a good feel of how aboriginal people conceive of spirituality...of spirits, ancestors, and the land. "Marrayilyil" tops my favourite list with its mesmerising interweaving must be heard to be understood. This song is also unusual because George Djilaynga's clansmen (clanspeople?) were brought down from Arnhem Land for the recording. All the words for this track are in the Yolngu language (and the album jacket gives a translation of it, as it does of the other songs sung in the vernacular). Marrayilyil, therefore, is like a clan song but in a rock and roll setting, much like Yothu Yindi. Like I said, the vocals are very strong and addictive. The album is capped off with Warumpi's signature song "Blackfella Whitefella": 'Blackfella, whitefella, It doesn't matter what your colour, As long as you a true fella, As long as you as real fella...'
Reviewer: Guan Lim

Copyright 1997 by John Morfit - All Rights Reserved