‘They call us Blacca Dacca’: The world’s most remote band is heading to Fremantle
Mark Naglazas, BRISBANE TIMES
May 3, 2023
Gravel Road captures the band’s first tour in 2018, when they were scheduled to do gigs in several communities on their way from Tjuntjuntjara to Broome to support their second studio album, Mungangka Ngaranyi (It’s On Tonight).
However, mechanical disasters meant they had to cancel several gigs, giving Pemberton the opportunity to dig deeper into the lives of Minning and his group as well as capture the punishing terrain, the extreme distances and the vibrancy and resilience of the various communities they encounter along the way.
This must be the only rock band tour movie, of which there is a grand tradition, which involves the band members changing their own tyres, stopping to sell wooden artefacts they’ve made and hunting for marlu (kangaroo) and cooking their kill using traditional means.
We also learn about the history of the Spinifex people, who were the last First Nations people to make contact with Europeans (they are regarded as the last nomads).
The Spiniex people were moved from their traditional homeland when the Australian government allowed the British to test the atomic bomb in Maralinga.
“It still lingers in people’s heads generation after generation,” explains Minning in the documentary.
Maralinga is also the subject of one Minning’s most powerful songs, which, he explains in Gravel Road, he writes in both English and language.
“For a black man I’m living in two worlds here. And I got to get the story across to the other side. When I write it in Pitjantjaratjara I get to the point, you know and make it easy listening for people.
“In a way there are not enough words in Pitjantjaratjara to put it in words for you to understand. That’s why I sing in English. Better understanding and more words.”