Track of the Day: Mambali “Legend of the Devil Dance” (2020)

Our track of the day comes from Numbulwar-band Mambali, with their latest single “Legend Of The Devil Dance”.  This follows on from “Yuwani” which was released in 2019 and featured Emily Wurrumara. Fans of Saltwater and Warumpi are bound to dig this latest tune, from one of the most exciting Indigenous bands on the scene.

The last year has had many highlights for the band, with shows at WOMADelaide, Darwin Festival and Brisbane’s BIGSOUND festival. Not to mention a stint on the RAGE couch.

Numbulwar is a small community on the western side of the Gulf of Carpentaria. The “Legend of the Devil Dance” is a Dhambul songline from Ayawyrra on Bickerton Island, which is a small island north-east of Numbulwar and Wyndhangan on the mainland of the Gulf. According to the songline, the ancestors wanted to connect the two countries, Ayawyrra and Wyndhangan and did this by building a sand bar or bridge from the mainland to the island.

The law dictated that you can only sing and dance at night, and the bridge was not finished when daybreak arrived. They decided to stay on their respective sides but to become one tribe through the songline.

The song features the distinctive guitars and soaring vocals of Mambali. It starts in English and then reverts to their own language (Nunggubuyu).

I don’t believe they have any shows coming up, but if you see them coming your way, do go and see them. Their performance at Barunga last year was an absolute joy.

“Legend of the Devil Dance” is out now via Skinnyfish Records.

You can keep up to date with Mambali on their Facebook page.

Bruce Baker

Probably riding my bike, taking photos and/or at a gig. Insta: @bruce_a_baker

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