I mentioned in the last entry that lots of kids from Hodgson Downs had gone to a nearby community for a big festival. Well, the community is called Barunga and is home to the ‘Barunga Sports and Cultural Festival’. I spent the weekend there and had a good time. People went there from all over… heaps of people from communities all over the region, people from Katherine, lots of tourists… it really is one giant get together. It’s fun for me seeing people I know from Ngukurr or Hodgson Downs in a different place, especially when they’re happy and having fun.
The Barunga festival has lotsa sport. The girls’ big sport is the basketball (the Ngukurr girls won) and the boys are all involved in the footy carnival. I watched keenly as the Ngurralindji Tigers (from Hodgson Downs) competed but sadly were wiped off the field by the home team. Poor things.
At sunset, on both days I was there, the Red Flag dancers from Numbulwar performed. They are so good. They perform traditional dances about when the Macassan people from Sulawesi used to sail into Nunggubuyu country in the Gulf of Carpentaria. The dances are about their boats and sailing and other stuff… I don’t really know, but I know they’re fantastic to watch.
After sunset on both nights, the music kicks in. Saturday night was for the up and coming bands – a real mixed bag – but Sunday night was for the big guns. Yugul band from Ngukurr played (a band that’s been around for decades, released a CD last year and has toured the country) but the best band was Yilila. They are sensational. They’re basically the same mob that do the Red Flag dances, but they’re a noisy rock’n’roll band that have maintained but adapted the traditional songs and stories of the Red Flag into a noisy and spectacular show. They’re so good. They’ve just released a CD and will have a DVD coming out soon. They’ve performed at Womadelaide and the dancers have performed everywhere. They’re so good! hehe… everyone was up dancing and having a great time. And it’s so good to see community mob going off to other community mob.
Anyway, Barunga festival was good. No grog too, so the atmosphere was good. And, I bought a digital camera on the way there so hopefully as you read this you can look at some pics too! yay!