Emily Wurramara’s childhood was one of water and music. Growing up on Groote Eylandt, days were filled with travel, fishing and extended family, a mother telling stories of dreams and dolphins that would one day become the seeds of Emily’s music. In almost the blink of an eye the young fresh faced artist who debuted her breakout EP ‘Black Smoke’ in 2016, has matured into a now seasoned award winning Indigenous performer and a proud new mum with her own stories to pass down to her daughter.
With her daughter, K’iigari, born Boxing Day (2017), a freshly inked publishing deal with Mushroom Music, and the long awaited mid-year release of her debut album, Milyakburra, a dedication to her community – 2018 is shaping up to be the biggest one yet for Emily Wurramara.
Recorded with award winning producer David Bridie, Ngarrukwujenama is the first taste of the album to come. As an environmental activist, the earth has always been at the forefront of Emily’s song writing. Sung in her first language Anindilyakwa, Ngarrukwujenama means ‘I’m hurting’. Personally referred to as ‘The Seabed Mining Song’, in Emily words “This song was written in response to the mining on Groote Eylandt, and in particular the battle fought by the community, which saw the NT government place a total ban on seabed mining around Groote Eylandt in 2013, respecting the concerns of traditional owners about the destruction of the seabed and cultural songlines. I’m passionate about protecting this earth and everything living on it. Ngarrukwujenama talks about how we all come from the sea and how it’s our duty to protect and cherish her, and the pain we cause when we don’t. The song is an anthem and a reminder to care for this beautiful country.”
Jan 26 – is a day of mourning for a lot of Aboriginal Australian’s. This date marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales and the raising of the flag of Great Britain at Sydney Cove by Governor Arthur Phillip. Emily says “This date marks the start of so much devastation for Australia’s first people, which is why we can’t all celebrate this beautiful country on this date.” Emily’s continuous dedication to educate about Indigenous culture and standing up for environmental change is the reason she has chosen the week of this date to release Ngarrukwujenama.
2017: Off the back of her breakout 2016 debut EP ‘Black Smoke’ Emily toured nationally and internationally while amassing almost 1 million Spotify streams, 22K Shazams, 48K YouTube views, rotation on JJJ and ABC Local x 2, 10 weeks in the AMRAP charts (over 112 stations in 6 months) and airplay in every state and territory all whilst winning herself a Queensland Music Award, gaining places as a Triple J Unearthed BIGSOUND Artist, a Triple J Unearthed Feature Artist and showcasing at Folk Alliance International in the United States.
2018: Emily has a huge year planned, not the least of which is the release of her first full length album, Milyakburra, (which is a celebration of her home, community, culture, friends and family) National touring, feature performances at a range of festivals across the country and some new collaborations, together with some key dates in the United States and Canada will see Emily continue to establish herself as a force to be reckoned with.
Her music has been sent to heal our spirits.
SBS Living Black Radio
You take me to such a vivid place in my head. I can see everything you’re singing.
Gemma Pike, Triple J
Her voice is faultless, her passion forthright, and her culture imbued in everything she does.
Triple J Unearthed