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AAA Music | 10 July 2020

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Saltwater Band New album ‘MALK’ – release date August 29 2011

| On 09, Jul 2011

Saltwater Band
New album ‘MALK’ – release date August 29 2011
Single ‘MALK’ – release date August 22 2011

MALK is the third album by indigenous Australian rock-stars Saltwater Band

Just like a highly awaited spring-time, comes the new album by Saltwater Band. Titled MALK, the Yolngu word for skin-name or kin, the album is Saltwater band’s third release in 15 years.

The band consists of eight Yolngu musicians from Galiwink’ku Elcho Island, lead by Manual Dhurrkay [pronounced door-kay] and featuring multiple award winning artist Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu. These two singer/songwriters are often [humorously] referred to as the Lennon and McCartney of N.E. Arnhem Land. Together they write in a style that combines traditional songs with reggae/ska-influenced pop. The unique combination of Manuel’s catchy pop-song arrangements with Gurrumul’s traditional style has built a strong following in Northern Australia where the band has sold more than 30,000 copies of their previous two albums Gapu Damurrun and Djarridjarri/Blue Flag.

Through their music, the band aims to reach as broad an audience as possible and to strengthen and influence their own communities. Their songs serve to pass on to the younger members of their communities their traditional stories and values and, instead of traditional culture being swamped by western influence, the traditional culture in this case has adapted to the ‘new way’ and is able to compete with western music. This enables a community to pass on to the next generation the important songs of their culture.

Thanks to an ARIA Award nomination for Best World Music, multiple Indigenous Music Awards, two Deadly Awards for Best Album and Best Band along with a knock out performance at the Byron Bay Blues Festival, the band has begun to attract the attention of the mainstream market.

Title track and first single MALK is an exuberant anthemic arrangement that features Natalie Pa’apa’a [Blue King Brown] who lends her strong vocal to what is a radio favourite. The song is a call to Yolngu saying ‘look at us, we are Yolngu, we are strong, unified and together we know our place in society and in the world’, and the remix [Our Skin] by Groove Terminator is sure to be a spring/summer dance-floor favourite. MALK is a unifying title for a people and a collective, which is what this album embodies.

Recorded prior to Gurrumul’s international solo success, MALK is a collection of songs with a sound that combines the band’s first two recordings and includes a number of songs found on Gurrumul’s debut album albeit in a different, more upbeat mood. Co-produced by Michael Hohnen and recorded mainly during the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, this is essentially an islander reggae album with a collection of songs which showcase a strong fusion of modern music with the spirit of the Gumatj people, language and culture.

MALK debuted on the singer/songwriter charts at no. 3 on the day of its Australian release.

4.5 star review for MALK… “The result is Aboriginal music as never heard before, a true synthesis of the deep traditionalism of Elcho Island with such non-Aboriginal elements as string quartet [Baywara] and horns [Marwurrumburr]. Sydney Morning Herald – Spectrum

“Yesterday I heard one of the most joyous and uplifting songs I’d come across in a long time, even though I couldn’t understand most of the lyrics. Of course that’s the great thing about music: it transcends language and culture. I can’t speak the Yolgnu language, but there’s so much joy and ebullience in Saltwater Band’s ‘Yolgnu Island Dancer’ that it doesn’t matter that I can’t understand what they’re singing, it still makes me feel extremely happy”, Triple J radio – Home & Hosed – Sep 2010.

‘Malk’ is an inspiring mix of the modern with musical traditions that date back tens of thousands of years. As he did on Gurrumul’s internationally beloved album, producer Michael Hohnen allows these beautiful melodies and singing to shine and grow with new backing, this time by adding horns and strings to Saltwater’s graceful Top End Reggae grooves. Lucky Oceans – ABC RN – The Daily Planet.