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Hey Wanhaka

King Stingray

A love story of planet earth – the Lorrpu (white cockatoo) is sending out a message to all humans, celebrating culture, life, nature and a love for the land and sea.

About The Artist

King Stingray is a story of lifelong friendship and two cultures coming together. Together in Yirrkala in North-East Arnhem Land, the band seamlessly blend ancient indigenous melodies with surf, indie and funk influences to create a unique sound of their own: Yolŋu surf-rock. 

In their short time together as King Stingray, these five Yolŋu (Aboriginal) and balanda (non-Indigenous) lads have become one of the hottest acts in the country. Frontman Yirrŋa, whose name translates to ‘place of stingray’, is a young Gumatj clan songman who proudly follows in the footsteps of his pioneering uncle, Yothu Yindi founder Mandawuy Yunupiŋu, who passed away in 2013.

Propelled by the instant success of their debut track ‘Hey Wanhaka’ in 2020, accidental lockdown anthem ‘Get Me Out’, and groove-laden ‘Milkumana’, the band have soared to unexpected heights. In just over 12 months, King Stingray have performed for triple j’s Live at the Wireless, appeared on ABC TV’s The Sound, been profiled in The Guardian and Rolling Stone, and won triple j’s Unearthed Artist of the Year J award.

 

Why I Wrote This Song

We wrote this song because the Lorrpu (white cockatoo) holds great significance in Yolngu culture. But it extends far beyond just one animal – it’s a concept really; a way of life, a balanced life that is synonymous with caring for our environment and the relationship between humans and living creatures. 

The ancient songline (lorrpu manikay) sung in this song represents nature celebration and the yolngu way of life, a way of life that is one with planet earth. In this song the lorrpu is sending out a message to the world and that is essentially what we’re doing in our own lives. We are advocates for change, and through our music we are having a platform to speak. 

We are too, just like the lorrpu, sending a message to the world through music. We are storytellers and so is the lorrpu. It’s basically a cheeky and playful spin on nature celebration through a metaphor (the lorrpu / human relationship) and the connection to country that we have. ‘Hey Wakana’ is about knowing your roots, who you are, and the duty to care for country, eachother, and the responsibility we have to care for our environment. 

Environmental Organisations I Admire

Ocean Conservancy, Dhimurru Ranger Group, Yirralka Ranger Group, Sea Shepherd, Land and Sea Rights, Australian Conservation Foundation. 

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