Work has begun to convert the end part of the Angurugu Sports Hall into a new music and recording studio, including separate drum room and control room. Internal demolition is starting and the project is expected to be finished in early April.
The ALC’s music program, called AMP!, is now currently operating from local school classrooms until the ALC’s new music studios are finished. AMP! stands for Anindilyakwa Music Program and its staff manage a string of bands and artists and runs in-school and out-of-school music programs.
The in-school music program runs at Angurugu school Mondays and Wednesdays, Milyakburra School on Tuesdays and Umbakumba on Thursdays.
Program coordinator Joewah Wilson said band members in each community taught the children and had become great mentors.
“Learning to share their talents and songs with the youths is our main priority,”he said. “I taught music to many of the band members when they were at school and I tell them now that the greatest gift they can give is sharing their talent with the youths in their communities who admire and look up to them.”
Once the youths sessions are finished, band memberscontinue with late night recording, in preparation for the release of several compilation albums.
“There are some great sound engineers among the band members, who after a few more lessons with me will confidently be able to mix and master their own albums, preparing them for the new recording studios,” Joewah said.
As if that wasn’t keeping the team busy enough, they have been managing the entertainment for a plethora of community engagement events, including NAIDOC Week, Umbakumba Mini Festival and the opening of the new Angurugu School buildings.
The Poison Whiskey band has been gigging at Mindil Beach Markets in Darwin, the Mambali band will head to Meredith Music Festival in early December and Salt Lake Band has a mystery tour scheduled for late December.
Joewah said they used concerts as a training ground for local youths.
A couple of youths had also shown a liking for the mixing desk.
“They have been preparing and engineering the mixing of jam sessions in the classroom and in a couple of months should be masters at the craft,” Joewah said.
“We are working with really accomplished musicians and song writers and it’s beautiful to see everyone’s skills sets raised.”
Joewah said they had also started acoustic sessions midday on Friday at Angurugu Radio 102.9FM, which were growing every week.
“They have been great fun and it’s good to see the boys just being themselves,”Joewah said.
They have also just shot footage for a music clip for one of Eylandt Band’s songs which should be finished in a week.
The other bands would get their turn one after the other.
“I’m not sure how this one will turn out, but with practise, we can only get better,”Joewah said.
“We’ve also done some workshops on guitar setups and mechanic to make the instruments play their best,”Joewah said. “It was fun to see the boys smile when their guitar played better.”
He thanked Angurugu and Umbakumba Schools for the use of classrooms and the band members who showed up for work every day as well as for community gigs for birthdays on the weekends.
“They are some of the hardest working guys I know, legends,” Joewah said.
He also thanked Milyakburra School for helping with the film clip and the use of the music room, Sue McDonald for feeding the crew, Michael Andrews for helping film the music clip and for, together with Percy Bishop, inviting musicians to the radio station’s acoustic sessions on Fridays.