Indigenous rock

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Indigenous or Aboriginal rock refers to a style of music which mixes rock music with the instrumentation and singing styles of Indigenous peoples. Two countries with prominent Aboriginal rock scenes are Australia and Canada.


In Australia, Aboriginal rock mixes rock styles and instruments (e.g. electric (guitar, bass and drums) with Indigenous Australian instruments such as the Didgeridoo and clapsticks. Aboriginal rock is mostly performed by Indigenous bands, although some bands include non-Aboriginal members.

Bands include Yothu Yindi, Us Mob and No Fixed Address. Yothu Yindi, with vocalist Mandawuy Yunupingu has politicised lyrics, such as 1991's "Treaty." Other songs relate more generally to Aboriginal culture. Another major band is the Warumpi Band, which toured with Midnight Oil. The Warumpi Band focuses more on the Aboriginal aspects of the music, rather than the rock sound of Yothu Yindi. In the 2000s, Aboriginal bands such as NoKTuRNL have adopted a rap metal or nu metal sound. Formal training institutions include the Government sponsored Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts.

Famous songs include Treaty, My Island Home, and Blackfella/Whitefella.


Canada's Indigenous peoples include First Nations, Métis and Inuit. Some examples of Canadian Indigenous rock bands or artists include A Tribe Called Red, Edward Gamblin, George Leach, Derek Miller, Breach of Trust, Kashtin, Bruthers of Different Muthers, Digging Roots and Burnt Project 1.

See also


Further reading

  • Peter Dunbar-Hall, (1997), Music and Meaning: The Aboriginal Rock Album, Australian Aboriginal Studies, 1997/1, pp. 38–47

External links

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