In North East Arnhem Land, located in the far north-eastern corner of the Northern Territory, you’ll find one of the largest Indigenous communities in Australia. Local leaders in North East Arnhem Land have a vision for the development and preservation of the Yolngu people and culture, but concurrently, the youth are taking it into their own hands. Enter King Stingray, a four piece from Yirrkala, who bring to us Yolngu surf rock.
Fusing their surf, indie and funk influences with ancient indigenous melodies, King Stingray are creatively and intimately offering us a window into their culture on new single ‘Hey Wanhaka’, described as a “playful song about finding love in the city.” Written in English and the language of Yolngu Matha, the traditional song line of the Lorrpu (white cockatoo) is formative to the heart of the track.
‘Hey Wanhaka’ is about “putting the word out to the white cockatoo,” the band shared with Blunt Magazine. “Wanhaka means what’s happening or where are you going in Yolngu Matha, it’s like the Yolngu way of saying ‘what’s up?” they explain. “So we are asking the question, ‘Yo, what’s up?’ Yolngu style.”
King Stingray are signed to Bargain Bin Records, the brainchild of a label run by none other than Aussie pub rock darlings The Chats. Frontman Eamon Sandwith commented that he’s “bloody stoked to have King Stingray on board the Bargain Bin train”. In his traditional style of being a cheeky little shit, he adds that “it’s a crazy train, like the Ozzy Osbourne song”. He continues: “I’m very much looking forward to seeing them grow as a band and I can’t wait till we can hit the road and do some shows together!” Equally, us humble Aussie music fans would pay to see it.