For our regular Future Is Now column we profile the hottest artists who are climbing the charts, breaking the Internet or just dominating our office stereos.
SOUNDS LIKE: Secret women’s business in the bush of ghosts, ringing with layered vocal harmony and electro ether
FOR FANS OF: Tiddas, Amiina, Mountain Man
WHY YOU SHOULD PAY ATTENTION: The mysterious bush woman of the sand hills south of Tennant Creek is “like a mother”, says NT singer-songwriter Eleanor Dixon. “She is what we call a connector in a spiritual sense, a connector of the physical to the spiritual.” Kardajala takes form in story and song in the project that borrows her name, founded last year by the Rayella singer with Melbourne multi-instrumentalist and electronic producer Beatrice Lewis. The hypnotic chant “Abala Barlawa (Everything Was at Peace)” promptly won an NT Song of the Year award, and the group expanded to include Eleanor’s aunty Janey Dixon and MC Kayla Jackson from Marlinja and Kulumindini. Recorded in a community hall in the Top End heat haze, the quartet’s self-titled album welds sparse acoustic piano and electro-minimalism to plain-speaking raps and disembodied harmony in Mudburra and English languages. The result is an enveloping song cycle of country and creation celebrating divine female power beyond the frontiers of time and culture.
THEY SAY: “It comes from somewhere beyond just music. What’s important behind these songs is an awakening, a reminder to people [about] being spiritual, reminding everyone that it’s time to go back to where it all started. Look back towards women. Women have always had the power to give life. That’s the message that we carry.”
HEAR FOR YOURSELF: “Ngabaju (Grandmother’s Song)” cuts a swell of ethereal Mudburra harmony with Jackson’s English-language rap about inter-generational connection.