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  • Big Name No Blanket

Big Name No Blanket

SKU: SG997

    Big Name No Blanket (Steven McGregor, 2013) tells the extraordinary story of George Rrurrambu, the lead singer of the pioneering Warumpi Band of the 1980s. George features as the charismatic frontman who combined rock'n'roll, reggae, pop and traditional culture to spread the message about Indigenous contemporary issues, awakening the Australian consciousness of a third world in its own backyard.

    With George joining founding members Neil Murray and the Butcher Brothers, the Warumpi Band became the most successful Indigenous rock'n'roll band that Australia had ever seen. Dubbed the black Mick Jagger for his energetic performances and hailed a legend for being the first Aboriginal frontman to sing rock'n'roll music in Aboriginal languages, George caught the Australian nation by surprise.

    By the late 1980s, after national and international touring, George became the rock'n'roll star that he always aspired to be; however, alongside success, George struggled with alcoholism and fame. With support from his wife, Suzina McDonald, George drew on the influences of the Christian faith to give up alcohol, which coincided with the break-up of the Warumpi Band. At the Stomping Ground Festival 2000 held in Broome, he formally announced 'that it's time for a change'.

    His solo career, spanning seven years, enabled him to return to practicing his Gumatj traditions inherited from his forefathers of Bawaka, his traditional homeland, in north-east Arnhem Land. George found the freedom to perform his traditional stories on stage and continue his role as a singer, teacher, hunter, dancer and performer. Maintaining a strong identity with the song 'My Island Home', written by Neil Murray about George's life, George later translated the English version into the Gumatj language.

    Towards the end of his life, George became an Australian ambassador for reconciliation and continued to spread the message about contemporary Indigenous issues through performance. Born at Elcho Island on 13 June 1956, George Rrurrambu died of lung and bone cancer on 10 June 2007, at fifty-one years of age.

    Curriculum links
    This study guide is mainly aimed at middle to senior-secondary school levels, with relevance to English, Media and Film Studies, Humanities, History, Indigenous Studies, Music, Cultural Studies, Psychology and Religious Studies.

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