"Arnhem Land is only a small peninsula projecting into the Arafura Sea from northern Australia, but three major exoteric musical traditions thrive there: the WONGGA-WALAGA of the west, the BUNGGUL-MANIGAJ of the northeast and the GUNBORG-BOROG of the north central. At the Northern Territory Welfare Branch Settlement for Aboriginal Wards, Beswick Creek in southern Arnhem Land, musicican schooled in each of these traditions meet and mingle musical ideas with each other and with visitors from a radically different area to the south and southeast...
On this disc we find the musicians 'at home', performing without dancers for a small private audience of friends and kin."
These recordings, which were gleaned by the linguist Dr. La Mont West during 1961 and 1962 in Beswick (now Wugularr) NT, are a real treat for aficionados of traditional music and playing techniques.
This collection features unadulterated examples of the three most important types of traditional music from Arnhem Land: the Wonga from the West, Gunborg from the North-Central region and naturally Bunggul from the North-East. In contrast to numerous older recordings, the didjeridu is featured prominently and is easily distinguishable, making this album highly suitable for learning purposes. As the tracks are not strictly field-recordings but were created in an improvised studio, the sound quality is remarkable for the time.
The performers are top notch - for example a younger David Blanasi with an unusually broad-based style which will surprise those who know only his more recent recordings.
This CD is produced by a small family business, using the last known copy on vinyl as the master. The booklet contains the original notes from La Mont West. The album has been around for a long time now, but has been difficult to obtain. We at Serious Sticks hope that promoting Arnhem Land Popular Classics will encourage the recognition it richly deserves.