Yirrmal Marika is fast becoming a popular and recognised face in the North East and Border – as he is across Australia.
Inspired by heroes Yothu Yindi, the new generation indigenous artist from the Yirrkala community of North-East Arnhem Land has made an exciting entrance into the music scene.
He returns to the region, after performing at the Winter Solstice at Albury’s QEII Square in June, with three shows as part of his Youngblood EP tour.
On Friday, December 2, Yirrmal plays at the Eldorado Folk, Rhythm and Life Festival, on December 3 he will be at BoomBoom in Albury and the Dumu balcony Cafe, Bright, on December 5.
Yirrmal, 23, has lived in Geelong for the past five years where he has been continuing his education and participating in the Marrma’ Rom Two Worlds Leadership Program.
As part of the program Yirrmal spent a week in Bright in 2011 working with the Riverina Rammed Earth Construction Company.
He learned about the use of rammed earth walls in housing, with the insulation and cost efficiency advantages, materials that are readily available, and the potential for its application in Arnhem Land.
The Marrma’ Rom program is for secondary school boys from various remote communities across North-East Arnhem Land.
Marrma’ Rom translates to “two worlds, two cultures or two belief systems” in Yolngu Matha, the language of the people in Arnhem Land.
“We're living in two worlds, learning in two worlds, carrying a message, a sharing of culture,” Yirrmal says.
“We're exploring new horizons with our sound, mixing western styles with our traditional song, adding a new dimension to music.
“We aim to set an example for Indigenous youth, and to be strong, positive role models.”
Yirrmal is related to Geoffery Gurrumul Yunupingu and his father, Witiyana Marika, was a singer and dancer in iconic Australian band Yothu Yindi.
He’s a regular on the music festival circuit, with highlights including performing at the National Indigenous Music Awards, New Zealand Music Festival and Singapore and Taipei Music festivals, BluesFest Tour shows and the Brunswick Music Festival.
Throughout 2016 he has has been working with mentors Neil Murray, Shane Howard, Archie Roach and Steve Teakle and has hit the road to promote his debut EP Youngblood.