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Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

East Journey wows Seymour

Outstanding indigenous band treats locals.

CHALPAT SONTI November 30, 2012 11:29am

East Journey brought its brand of "saltwater reggae" to Seymour College.


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It’s not often our region gets to see music of this quality, and hundreds of Seymour College kids were treated to just that last week.

The Community Performing Arts Centre was the stage for a series of concerts by on-the-rise indigenous band East Journey, a group from a part of North East Arnhem Land — about 1000km from Darwin via mostly corrugated dirt roads — with more than a passing connection to this region.

In fact that’s probably why East Journey stopped off in Seymour, after playing gigs in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne to promote its debut album Guwak.

Seymour College P-6 physical education teacher Paul Jordan worked with the group when he was based up north, and there’s also a family link nearby.

Band member Patrick White is the nephew of Avenel-based Martin White, and the latter and his own family were proud spectators on the day.

Martin White, past president of Avenel Football Netball Club, ensured Patrick wore a Swans jumper at the concert, and was pretty impressed by the football ability of a couple of the younger band members who will go to school in Geelong next year.

One of the highlights for the band was fielding questions from audience members.

These ranged from the usual ‘‘who is your inspiration?’’ — that’s easy, Yothu Yindi, members of which are grandparents of some of East Journey’s members. To the unusual ‘‘how long have you been an Australian?’’ — for which the answer came from Patrick White ‘‘about 40 000 years’’.

But that didn’t worry East Journey.

‘‘Those are good questions,’’ lead singer Rrawun Maymuru said.

‘‘Because those questions have to be learned in every school. That’s where it starts, in schools.’’

Including the music.

‘‘The kids enjoy it, and it’s good to have kids listening to music that they didn’t listen to before,’’ Maymuru said.

And plenty of others are as well. Maymuru and East Journey are delighted with the response to their music, dubbed ‘‘saltwater reggae’’. The band has been together about three years.

‘‘The album has been received really well,’’ he said.

‘‘We got back together after many months; we had been separate for cultural reasons, family reasons. When we got back together we played a few rehearsals and it went from there.

‘‘We’ve got a large following at home and sometimes we want to go somewhere else. Back at home they already listen and got the CDs. We wanted to go further so that everyone knows who this group is. We value our culture and we want to show them.

‘‘A tour like this is very special for the boys, and this is where the education starts for everyone.’’

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