In August NPY Women’s Council celebrated its first involvement with the UPK music program; an initiative of the Nganampa Health Council that uses music to create awareness and inspire action about issues faced by Anangu (people of the Western Desert).
On Thursday a USB carrying the sixth UPK album was launched into the world aboard a balloon ship, it comes almost 30 years after the first instalment was recorded at Mutitjulu in 1989. The current album was also released on Bandcamp and Soundcloud.
UPK stands for Uwankara Palyanku Kanyintjaku; a Pitjantjatjara expression meaning ‘everybody building and caring for the future’.
Using music is an agent of change, the songwriters involved take aim the root causes of hurt they see around them, like petrol sniffing, alcohol and drug addiction, waste management, care-for-country, hunting, and homesickness.
The content of UPK songs is not about blame or victimhood but a musical effort to address the factors that contribute to, or impact on, good living.
Creating awareness is the intention of UPK music because it is the key precedent to positive action.
UPK6 was recorded at West Bore in the APY Lands using an open-air studio with a hessian fence for wind-break, used carpet to keep the dirt down, and digital recording gear housed in the front room of an old outstation home.
The resulting album was released on the APY Lands in the form of a USB slap band containing the whole album, plus a karaoke version complete with scrolling Pitjantjatjara lyrics.
The Launching of UPK6
The launching of the long-awaited sixth album of the UPK series, UPK6, takes place today at the offices of the Pitjantjatjara Council. The intention of UPK music is to draw attention to the elements of life that constitute lifestyle, either negatively or positively and therefore influence the quality of life.
The long history of UPK music as a generic form of contemporary Aboriginal music has been an effective and stimulating – from the very first recording made at Mutitjulu in 1989 to the most recent recording made at West Bore a long way to the south, on the APY Lands.
UPK Music is about Life. Its songs reflect the elements needed to make Life good. However, to continue the time honoured practice of songwriters everywhere, UPK Music songwriters take aim at the root causes of unwellness and social malaise.
UPK music has been the most popular music on the APY Lands in far north SA for more than 30 years.
The music of UPK6 is the most recent original music to spring from the music scene on the APY Lands. The songs have a fresh, content-rich, contemporary feel. Pitjanjatjara rock anthems, lush desert dub, poignant acoustic ballads; all songs of the UPK music genre, rich, and varied.
As with all other UPK albums the recording of UPK 6 occurred in a remote bush location, away from all distraction. West Bore, in the very centre of the APY Lands, was the location visited by musicians from right across the Lands who came to record their songs and support one another. An ‘open-air studio’ with a hessian fence for wind-break, used carpet to keep the dirt down and digital recording gear housed in the front room of an old outstation home was the scene of recording action. All UPK music has been recorded this way.
UPK6 Music Director Bill Davis 0407 527706