Emily Wurramara – Incorporating Culture into Music

Subscribe to Forte Magazine

Emily Wurramara – Incorporating Culture into Music

Groote Eylandt songstress Emily Wurramara has taken her music around the country and the world with shows and festival gigs as far as Sweden and France. Emily chats to Forte about her musical career, an upcoming gig at NaranaFest and singing in her original language.

Hi Emily, thanks for chatting with Forte, how are you and what are you up to at the moment?
Thank you for having me. I’ve just came back from the Bring The Sun Out tour with CKNU and Chris Tamwoy, so I’m just relaxing until the weekend then off to Sydney.

Aside from recently hitting up BIGSOUND, your track ‘Black Smoke’ has been played quite a bit on triple j. Do you remember the first time that was played on radio?
Well just recently actually. I’ve had friends and family who’ve called me and say it’s playing on the radio, but aside from that, I’d never heard it with my own ears. On the last tour, we were driving from Townsville to Julia creek and we were somewhere in the middle and we could only get triple J on the radio. Me and my friend Troy were just talking about how funny it would be if they played Black Smoke. Not even 10 minutes after, it came on. It was the deadliest feeling and everyone in the car was singing along, I was just so happy.

Many have been tagging you as the ‘next big thing’, do you listen to all that hype much?

I acknowledge it yes, but I’m very surprised of it all. I didn’t think that anyone would listen to Black Smoke. I just kind of popped up out of nowhere so I’m very thankful for all the kind things that have been said.

You’ve said before how happy you are to represent your clan on a national scale, what are their thoughts on your music?
They’re very, very proud of me. My mums just moved back home and she’s told me there’s more children singing and picking up guitars and playing drums now so I’m super proud of them.

Was it an obvious/easy decision to sing a few songs in your language, Anindilyakwa?
Singing in my language is such a vital way to preserve it. Music can be passed down from generation to generation, and if it’s catchy they sing along and share it to the rest of the world. I wanted to sing to my language because a lot of the words I sing are very ancient, and I’d like to revive that again. There’s only a handful of people who still speak the old language.

You’re set to perform NaranaFest this year, which celebrates Indigenous artists. Have you heard much of the event?
I have yes indeed! I hope I’ll be around to see A.B. Original. I saw them at BIGSOUND and was so hyped, and Leah, she’s gorgeous, Yirrmal, Benny Walker…. oh everyone! It’ll just be a huge family reunion.

Thanks again for chatting with us, have any last words of wisdom for our readers?
Anyone out there wanting to do music, have no shame and be proud of who you are, and where you come from.

When & Where: NaranaFest, Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre – November 5