WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that the following may contain images, story and voices of deceased, by and about persons. Discretion advised.

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2 July 2021 // Ngunbay Willie Brim

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Ngunbay Willie Brim (1959 - ) is from the Katjiraka clan of the Buluwai Nation, the Aboriginal Rainforest People of Queensland (Bama, Kuranda Region).

A Traditional Owner, Cultural Custodian, Bush Doctor and Songman  

Ngunbay is a self taught, multiskilled instrumentalist and conscious songwriter. He had strong cultural connections to traditional ways of living with his family being the last to enter the Mona Mona Mission and one of the first to leave. 

 

He is a musician responsible for the cultural heritage of his people and revival of their language, music and dance. Through his songs he writes about spirituality, cultural values and dreaming, the love and connection to his country and the struggle and resilience of his people.

Front man of legendary Indigenous reggae outfit Mantaka, they are listed in the Reggae Hall of Fame in Jamaica. Mantaka formed in 1978 when Ngunbay was just 18 years old and broke ground melding Reggae, Roots, Rock, Blues and Traditional music to create their individual upbeat distinctive sound. Mantaka have been labelled as forefathers of the Reggae Roots movement in Australia with a repertoire of hit songs that have become anthems of this land and their people.

Ngunbay was a founding member of Tjapukai, a groundbreaking Aboriginal cultural heritage experience in Cairns, Queensland and was also instrumental in the formation of the bands Willie and the Poor Boys and Zennith.

Currently battling a degenerative health issue, he is in a race against time to professionally record and document a cannon of over 70 songs written and produced. Despite failing health, he continues to perform and on this day of honouring will be taking the stage with Zennith alongside 3 generations of the Brim musical Dynasty at the Laura Quinkan Dance Festival.  

With over a 40 year history of activism, music and performance, business creation, tourism and education, he stands proud of his achievements to bring recognition for his Bama Ancestors, those who survived on the edge of the Frontier Wars, being displaced decade on decade by mass deforestation of the ancient old-growth rainforests of Far North Queensland.

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