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Australian premiere of 'Gravel Road' by The Desert Stars celebrated after international awards


November 03, 2023

The Desert Stars, the world's most remote Indigenous rock band from Spinifex Country in Western Australia, is embarking on a national tour, kicking off with a performance at Cinema Nova in Carlton on Saturday evening, November 11.

Following this, they will be in Castlemaine on Sunday, November 12 for an afternoon show as part of their tour launch.

During the Desert Stars' rock concerts, the audience will also have the opportunity to watch their internationally acclaimed documentary, "Gravel Road".

Gravel Road is a Flywire Films production, directed by Tristan Pemberton and the Tjuntjuntjara Community.

This four-piece band has gained fame throughout Australia for their unique blend of rock 'n' roll, Indigenous culture, and language in their songs.

Lead singer Jay Minning, a Spinifex man and the community's traditional songman, plays a vital role in creating and performing songs that bridge the connection between the community and their country.

"For a Black man, I'm living in two worlds here and I got to get the story across to the other side," said Minning.

"What an utter privilege it's been to collaborate with singer-songwriter Jay Minning and the community of Tjuntjuntjara in the making of Gravel Road.

"Every journey changes you, and this one left an indelible mark on all participants in the true spirit of ngapartji-ngapartji (reciprocity)."

"It was all made possible because of Jay's incredible passion to share his remarkable life, culture and Spinifex history through music," says Pemberton.

Known to some as "Blacca Dacca," the band is composed of lead singer-songwriter Jay Minning, lead guitarist and backing vocalist Derek Coleman, bassist Justin Currie, and drummer Ashley Franks.

Their music delves into the profound culture of the last true nomads, with songs that touch on aspects of hunter-gatherer life and their people's survival through the 1950s British atomic testing at Maralinga, rapidly expanding their fanbase.

Gravel Road achieved acclaim by winning the title of Best Documentary Feature at the Poppy Jasper Film Festival in California and securing the Best Road/Tour Movie accolade at the Sound on Screen Music Film Festival in South Africa.

The film premiered in Australia in Margaret River, Western Australia, as part of Cinefest Oz late last year.

Following the screening, The Desert Stars surprised the audience with a live performance that generated an overwhelming number of encore requests, evnetually running out of songs.

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