UPK6 launches into the stratosphere

Posted on Aug 9, 2018

UPK6 launches into the stratosphere

This week 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 (see video here). 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.