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.
“One: We are fighting for man and his culture.
Two: We are fighting for the environment.
Three: We are fighting for independence.”
~ Francis Ona (Former President of Bougainville)
This is the amazing story of an island people who stood up to a major western super power and won.
Through the 1970’s and 80’s, the giant mining corporation Rio Tinto Zinc set up one of the world’s biggest copper mines in Bougainville (an island in Papua New Guinea).
This company shuffled the native people off into make shift settlements on desolate ground and paid them only 1,000th of the total earnings accumulated in the mine. It didn’t take long for the local environment to be destroyed by run off minerals. Pollution flooded into nearby rivers and rendered the water undrinkable for the next 200 years.
When the local people of Bougainville tried to sue the mining company for damages, they were laughed at. From there, the native people fought a revolution first against the Papua New Guinea government, then against Australia and won through the power of their own innovation, spiritual strength and commitment to the land.
At first they only had sticks and stones. Yet over time they learned how to make their own guns, booby traps and created home-made coconut fuel for their boats and jeeps.
They learned many lessons from the land – including one that we in the West need to learn: Energy Independence. Their coconut fuel is cleaner than Diesel and provides twice the mileage.
This is truly an inspiring documentary. I believe many more Eco-Revolutions will unfold around the world as the corrupt forces of greed in the Modern World fall apart on themselves.
Nature has many lessons to teach us if we are willing to listen. The industrialized world has existed for around 300 years and modern humans for 40,000 years. Yet nature is a truth with 5 billion years of experience in the making. It is a system with the perfect balance of order and chaos. The fight for man’s culture, environment and independence is not just the fight of Bougainville – this is the fundamental war of our time.