Celebrating talent from remote communities in the Northern Territory, the Desert Divas program is a unique partnership offering support for Aboriginal women to develop their song-writing skills, learn about all aspects of the music industry and provides a platform to share their individual stories. Uncovering eight talented Aboriginal women to create Desert Divas Volume II, each of the Divas were partnered with mentors including Nai Palm (Hiatus Kaiyote), Leah Flanagan, Dallas Frasca and Helpmann Award winner Ursula Yovich at CAAMA Studios in Alice Springs.
The fruits of these sessions were recorded by producer Anna Laverty (Florence and the Machine, Courtney Barnett, Cut Copy, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds) and musical director Steph Harrison (Bat Hazzard). Desert Divas Volume II offers a lush and diverse soundscape whilst providing an insightful passage into the stories and experiences of these unique women. 'I had the opportunity to meet inspiring, vibrant women from all over central Australia. We came together to make music but we ended up building friendships and lasting working relationships," says Laverty of the experience.
Desert Diva Shana Ray adds, 'Having my song recorded by a professional producer and appearing on an album has always been a dream of mine that is now finally achieved."
Desert Divas Volume II is the second compilation from MusicNT's premiere music development program Desert Divas and Sista Sounds. Over the past six years, Music NT's Aboriginal women's music programs have expanded their reach across the Northern Territory delivering Sista Sounds music workshops in remote communities and Divas professional development programs in regional centres. The Divas program has included Saltwater Divas in Darwin, Barkly Divas in Tennant Creek, and Desert Divas in Alice Springs.
'This project was amazing. On the outside, it was about giving aspiring Aboriginal female musicians the skills to walk into a professional studio and record their music. On the inside it was about friendship, culture and music creating something much richer than the sum of the individual parts," says Adelaide Wood, Indigenous Women's Music Program Manager MusicNT.
The proceeds of Desert Divas Volume II will go towards continuing to promote and support MusicNT's Aboriginal women's music programs.
The Divas are:
Desert Divas Volume II tracklisting:
How Can I Live – Casii Williams
My Spirit Is Free – Eleanor Dixon
Me & My Guitar – Bronwyn Stuart
My Brother's Arms – Jillian Moody
Flowers Will Bloom – Shana Ray
Song for the Mad Woman – Kiriz Oliver
A Part of Me – Rita Tomlins
Falling For You – Miranda Garling