Mabo: Yothu Yindi & The Treaty Project

Rebecca Varidel
26th Apr 2019

After 18 months of performing its exciting electronica show live around Australia and hot on the heels of rave reviews for their Bluesfest 2019 performances, Yothu Yindi & The Treaty Project have today released a new single titled Mabo.

Mabo is a joyous celebration with a driving, tribal funk groove and has become a stomping crowd favourite at every Yothu Yindi & The Treaty Project live show. Produced by Filthy Lucre, the song features powerful yidaki (didgeridoo), deftly woven through layers of synths, percussion and anthemic group vocals, sung partly in Yolngu Matha (language), ably led by emerging Yolngu vocalist Yirrnga Yunupingu.

The new release celebrates Torres Strait Islander Eddie Mabo, revered by many Australians for his tireless campaigning for Indigenous land rights, in particular, his central role in a landmark decision of the High Court of Australia to overturn the legal doctrine of terra nullius (“nobody’s land”) which characterised Australian Law with regard to land title.

Composed by Gurrumul, Dr M Yunupingu, Stu Kellaway and Galarrwuy Yunupingu, Mabo is a cover of a song which first appeared as an LP cut on the 1993 Yothu Yindi album ‘Freedom’. This release marks the first time that the song has been released as a single, and the first song recorded by Yothu Yindi & The Treaty Project, a contemporary ensemble which includes founding members of Yothu Yindi Witiyana Marika, Stu Kellaway and family, along with emerging First Nations artists, long-time collaborator Gavin Campbell (Filthy Lucre founding member) and multi-instrumentalist Ania Reynolds (Circus Oz musical director).

The collective took shape as a result of a unique invitation to perform at the 2017 Strawberry Fields Festival, following the success of the 25th anniversary remixes of Treaty Yothu Yindi’s Filthy Lucre produced 1992 ARIA Song of The Year.

Listen to Mabo on Soundcloud

Image courtesy of Joseph Mayers Photography.