Yolŋu surf-rock band, King Stingray have today released their groove-laden new single Milkumana, along with a super fun video that offers an exciting insight into life in Arnhem Land.
Milkumana is the band’s third release, since their hugely successful debut, Hey Wanhaka, and follow-up ‘Get Me Out’. Both singles were added instantly to triple j and playlists across the country, the latter becoming an accidental lockdown anthem and one of the most played Australian songs on triple j in the past 12 months.
In Yolŋu Matha, Milkumana means to show, share or pass on knowledge through stories and song. “It’s about leadership and mala wangany – we are all one and in this together“, explains guitarist Roy Kellaway. “We are all living under the same sun, sailing in the same boat, towards a brighter future. It’s about role models and the importance of setting good examples for the new generation.”
The message of Milkumana is brought to life by the accompanying video, Milkumana and the Story of the Golden Bilma. Filmed in King Stingray’s hometown of Yirrkala in North East Arnhem Land, the video features tribal elders Mangatjay Yunupingu and Malŋay Yunupingu, both well known keepers of Yolŋu manikay (traditional songlines), and respected mentors to King Stingray and the Yirrkala community. In the video, Mangatjay is giving Yirrŋa the Bilma (clapsticks), which is symbolic of passing on knowledge and power. This includes hunting skills, survival and life skills, and everything about living with Mother Earth in Arnhem Land.
Underpinned with a cheeky sense of humour and adventure, Milkumana and the Story of the Golden Bilma was directed by Roy Kellaway and Sam Brumby, who grew up in the Gove together. The making of this clip and the people involved is a classic example of family and lifelong friendship merging to create something at once familiar and entirely new.
King Stingray have spent the past year dodging COVID-19 restrictions to wow crowds along the eastern states, with tour highlights including Dark Mofo in Hobart, Splendour In the Grass XR, and completely selling out their first ever tour in March/April 2021.
With one foot firmly planted in history and the other in the future, King Stingray have big plans for the next 12 months and beyond. Watch this space!
About King Stingray:
King Stingray are a five piece from Yirrkala, North-East Arnhem Land. Formed by Yirrŋa Yunupiŋu (nephew of the late Dr M Yunupiŋu – Yothu Yindi frontman) and Roy Kellaway (son of Stu Kellaway – Yothu Yindi founding member and bass player), King Stingray blend ancient indigenous melodies with surf, indie and funk influences to create a genre of their own, Yolŋu surf-rock.
King Stingray is a story of lifelong friendship, of two cultures coming together. From toddlers in the Yothu Yindi tour entourage in the 90s, to fully fledged Yothu Yindi members today, Yirrŋa (current lead singer of Yothu Yindi) and Roy (current guitarist of Yothu Yindi and Emily Wurramara) have been playing and making music together for as long as they can remember. King Stingray seamlessly blends Yirrŋa‘s timeless Yolŋu manikay vocals with Roy’s indie pop credentials (Mary Handsome, Django George).
Dimathaya Burarrwanga joins the King Stingray line-up on rhythm guitar, backing vocals and yidaki, with Campbell Messer taking care of bass and Lewis Styles on drums.
“…if Yothu Yindi is the family business, King Stingray is the fast-growing franchise that threatens to take over.” – The Guardian
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With thanks to Deathproof PR