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Music NT Presents: Ripple Effect Band

IT'S NOT OFTEN YOU HEAR of an all-female rock band hailing from a remote Arnhem Land community, but Ripple Effect Band is just that.

MusicNT spoke to band member Rona Lawrence from her home in Maningrida to find out what’s next for Ripple Effect Band.

Rona, it’s pretty unique to find an all-female rock band in remote communities – what drove the decision to keep the band all-female?
We want to support the community and show young people how to be in a band and how that can keep you and the community strong. Last
year, we had a concert in Maningrida and we played, all the people came to watch and people were proud of us.

We wanted to make our family, friends and community proud. Especially the young girls and teenagers. We were showing them how we rock on the stage, with confidence.

Where do you draw inspiration from for your music?
Originally we went out to the outstation, all the girls, and we sat down on the cliffs looking at the sea, the birds, the fish, watching the tide go out. When we went back to community that night, I laid down and a song came to me – inspired by the land and country – so I wrote it down in my phone and sent it straight to Jodie, who said it was great. It gave me a lot of confidence. We all get inspired by our country, the land and community.

Your band’s played all over the country – including at MONA FOMA and Nannup Festival – what’s your secret in booking these gigs?
Because we are different from other bands, and people like to see us perform. We are the first all-women rock band from Arnhem Land, and we have so much culture and music to share.

People from all over Australia are interested in the Aboriginal languages. We sing in Ndjébbana, Burarra, Kune, Kuninjku and Na-kara. This makes us unique. But really we find that people see us on Facebook or YouTube and then call our manager Jodie, who is based at Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Or they see us at one gig and then they want us to perform in their town.

Ripple Effect Band was selected for the Sydney Biennale – how did you and the band feel about being included on the line-up?
We were so excited to be invited to the Biennale event. When we visit other places in Australia, we learn so much about the stories and history of different Aboriginal communities, and share our culture and knowledge. We feel so proud to have been asked to be part of it. We hope for new audiences to hear our music and our languages in the future.

You proudly represent the Northern Territory when you tour, is there any other NT artist you would like to collaborate with in the future?
I would love to work with Emily Wurramarra and also Black Rock Band, they are our favourite artists.

Lastly, what advice would like to share with the world?
Work hard, be strong and you will make your children, family and friends proud.


Photo: Ripple Effect Band

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