July 5th, 2010

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NAIDOC Week

This week is NAIDOC week - a week of celebrating the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. And I want to do some of that here.

This is the song "Treaty" by Yothu Yindi - a band from the Yolngu homelands in the Northern Territory. In 1988, Prime Minister Bob Hawke promised that there would be a treaty with Indigenous by 1990. To absolutely no-one's surprise this didn't happen. In response, in 1991 Yothu Yindi released "Treaty" a song written using a mix of traditional and popular Yolngu songs forms and is sung in both English and Yolgnu Matha.

I love this song and it was a huge hit! Along with a brilliant remix, it was chart-topper, and even made the #6 in the Billboard dance charts. It was a '90s clubbing scene standard, and hey nothing says subversive social revolution like waving your glo stix to a political song with a great techno beat. It remains an Aussie classic that's a must have on any party mix tape.

It's hard to assess the impact - both political and cultural - of a song but I have no doubt in this case they are significant. Have a listen - I challenge you not to start bopping along!