Dead Can Dance – Yulunga
Brought to you by the world’s greatest fusion band.
Genre: World Fusion, African poly-rhythms, Gaelic folk, Middle Eastern Mantras
Location: Melbourne Australia
Yulunga is the leading track on Dead Can Dance’s album Into The Labyrinth. This album was a groundbreaking event for the band, because it was the first album they completed on their own without the aid of guest musicians, as well as the first album to have a major label release in the United States. Into The Labyrinth is the album that put ethnic musical influences at the forefront of the band’s sound.
“Yulunga” itself is a type of spirit dance referred to in the Aboriginal Australian Kamilaroi language.
It is also a rainbow serpent Goddess in an aboriginal dream time legend of the Watagora people. These are the people who lived in what is now “New South Wales.” In the legend they were a happy people who spent their days hunting kangaroo, wallabies, emus and catching eel in what is now called the “Duck River.”
These blissful days came to an end when strangers entered the ancestral lands of the Watagora people. The Watagora warriors made several attempts to defend their land, but all to no avail. So then the Watagora elders made an appeal to the spirits for help. At first there was no answer. The Watagora thought that the Gods had abandoned them. But then a rainbow serpent appeared in the sky and chased the strangers away. You can read the rest of the story here.
The video for this song itself is a breath taking montage of nature and dance (aren’t you glad I posted the HD version?). The footage is from the film Baraka (an experimental documentary film with no plot that seeks to evoke emotion through a cinematic look at different world cultures).
At the end of the video – if you pay attention – you’ll notice that there is just the briefest glimpse of a little girl watching a rainbow shining over a river. Perhaps a symbol that the dance of life will go on.