Frank Yamma is without a doubt one of Australia’s most significant Indigenous songwriters with an ability to cross cultural and musical boundaries – a love song sung in Pitjantjatjara will make your heart sing in whatever language you speak. When he sings, you listen and travel with him. An initiated Pitjantjatjara man, Frank sings in his native language and English. His mighty songs, magical guitar playing and deeply evocative voice are all there in his compelling new album ‘Uncle’ (2014). Although he’s lived in Adelaide for many years, Frank’s spirit belongs to the heart of Australia. Uluru. Docker River. Ernabella. Central Australia. As Frank says, “wherever the Pitjantjatjara mob come from”.
His 2014 release ‘Uncle’ is a follow up album to the critically acclaimed ‘Countryman’ (2010). ‘Countryman’ re-launched Frank’s career following a ten-year hiatus, gaining international attention, sparking extensive national and international touring, and seeing Frank pick up a licensing deal with Proper Records UK. The new album features songs of country, protection, heartache and travel. And songs of love. Not of love lost, but of pure, present-day raw emotion. ‘Uncle’ shows the continuity of a musician that is hitting his peak with grace and conviction.
Frank’s touring highlights include Australian festivals’ WOMADelaide; Byron Bay Bluesfest; and Sydney Festival. He has undertaken three tours to Europe since 2011, performing at the 2012 Cultural Olympiad (UK); Womad (UK); The New Hebridean Festival (Scotland); Festival Bled (Slovenia); and Colours of Ostravia (Czech Republic). Most recently he has returned from a 2014 summer tour setting hearts on fire across Canada at Calgary, Vancouver and Winnipeg folk festivals, where he shared the stage with Buffy Saint Marie and The Mekons, as well as performing a coveted spot opening for Joan Baez.
A new career defining opportunity for Frank has arrived in the form of a coveted invite to perform at the foremost world music conference and trade show WOMEX ’14, this year held in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. A spot on the WOMEX official selection showcase has not come to an Australian music act for the past five years and it is both an honour and an acknowledgement to Frank’s unique story and music.
“The voice grabs you first, a soulful shout of pain and yearning to connect and remember. But it’s the voice, relating hard tales with honesty and emotion that makes this a raw, stripped-back classic.”
The Independent UK
“Yamma’s rich, powerful voice resonates and is as spiritually charged as any of the songs on Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu’s solo CD or Archie Roach’s albums.” Tony Hillier, The Australian
“… one of Australia’s most sought after indigenous artists. Yamma’s heartfelt set of husky, beautiful songs hit the AWME crowd like a sucker punch…”
Songlines /BBC3 (5 Star Review)
“Frank Yamma … received a standing ovation from a packed house” Rhythms Magazine