Kankawa Nagarra ‘Olive Knight’
Recently Kankawa recorded her third album Heroes & Laments with Desert Feet Records and includes an all star cast featuring Lucky Oceans, Dave Mann and Steve Pigram. The album was launched to a full house at the Ellington Jazz Club on 1st April 2015.
Below is a sneak preview of some of the songs on the album videoed during the recording process at Reel2Real studios with James Newhouse.
Olive, from the small and remote community of Wangkatjungka south of Fitzroy Crossing, has been on Broadway and performed with Hugh Jackman in his show “Back On Broadway”. A Walmatjarri woman born in the desert, Olive Knight’s traditional name is Kankawa Nagarra.
Her earliest recollections of music are of traditional songs sung around the campfire, which lulled her into a peaceful sleep. She remembers nullanullas thumping the bare earth, clap sticks and boomerangs, and the rhythmic songs of her forefathers.
Olive was an integral part of the liquor restrictions movement that won a precedent ruling against the Liquor Association, has been active in studies related to prevention and treatment of FASD, helped develop the Walmatjarri dictionary in the 1960s, and is a well respected Elder. Now working on her second album, Olive has a vision to see her people heal and believes music is an integral part of that.
As Australians we can boast to have inherited the only Walmatjarri Gospel Blues Singer in the world! Olive is not just a musician; she is a rare gem of incalculable cultural significance.
Olive offers Australians a rare opportune to participate in active and cultural appropriate reconciliation. By purchasing Olive’s music you support her endeavours of Health and Healing Through Music, acknowledge her as a inspirational Traditional Australian and enable her to continue her work.
Cryin’ por Kantri
Cryin po Kantri is all about being on country and longing for country. The middle verse is about the negative effects of grog, gunga and bad food and the song ends with a journey back to country.
The audio was recorded by Matt on the October 2014 Desert Feet Tour and the video shot around parts of Balgo and Wangkatjunka, past and present country for Olive.