Back in 2020, South East Arts invited First Nations songwriters from up and down the South Coast to record an original song for a very special compilation album which has just been released – Djamaga Music: Songs from the South Coast.
The songs were recorded at Umbarra Cultural Centre near Wallaga Lake and the result is eight unique tracks ranging from rock and country, to hip hop and folk/pop. The songwriters on the album live across the Yuin Nation on the south east coast of Australia, from Dharawal country on the northern border, to Thaua country in the south.
Djamaga means ‘good’ in the South Coast Language as spoken by Elders, but these tracks are more than good. Djamaga Music features original music from First Nations songwriters Ron “Callo” Callaghan, Matty Walker & Kyarna Rose, Gabadu, Richard Luland, Gadhu Dreaming Band, Nikea Brooks-Hayes & Dre Wicks, Buddy Walker feat. CJ Leon and Chelsy Atkins.
Each artist experienced professional song development and studio recording thanks to South East Arts and Bear Mountain Productions. The opening track on the album is ‘Confusion’ by Ron Callaghan from Moruya, who has been performing around the South Coast for decades and is a mentor to many young Aboriginal musicians in the area.
“Big thanks to South East Arts for recognising how many deadly local Aboriginal musos are on this part of the coast and putting them together on an album, stoked to be on the first one with this bunch’, Ron said.
All proceeds of the album sales will support Giiyong Festival that takes place at Jigamy near Eden on 9 April, as well as First Nations projects throughout the year. South East Arts initiated the Djamaga Music project, with the assistance of the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, as part of their ongoing support, promotion and capacity building of First Nations creative artists across the south east NSW region.
Djamga Music is a collaborative endeavour with Far South Coast recording/mixing engineer Ricky Bloomfield from Bear Mountain Productions on board, as well as Sydney based mastering engineer Nick Franklin. Yuin artist Natalie Bateman did the amazing cover artwork – ‘Bumalaga Yuraga over Gadhu’ (Morning sun over ocean).
Copies of the CD can be purchased from Candelo Books in Bega, or you can download your digital version now.
Image: CJ Leon recording vocals in the pop up studio at Umbarra Cultural Centre near Wallaga Lake