Emerging from the deserts of Central Australia is the unique sound of Apakatjah who combine intricate guitar work with ancient languages, stirring harmonies and traditional instruments.
Apakatjah (pronounced uppa–cut-ja) is a duo consisting of Dion Forrester and Jonathan Lindsay-Tjapaltjarri Hermawan who weave together a reflection of their blended cultures and wide musical influences such as Aboriginal desert reggae like Tjupi Band, old school metal like Iron Maiden and guitar master, Tommy Emmanuel.
Through its two band members Apakatjah combines the cultures of Aboriginal Australia (Pintupi-Luritja, Pitjantjatjara, Pertame Central Arrernte, Alywarre, Kaytitj and Islander), as well as heritage from European, Indonesian, Irish, Welsh and Dutch migrants. The word ‘apakatjah’ is a Luritja kriol word for a person of mixed race heritage, which the duo have reclaimed to demonstrate the pride they have in their identity and to draw strength from their culture.
"We want our performances to be an experience that touches people as much by the lyrics and music, as by the story behind it. We also want to have fun on stage! If people are dancing then we’re happy.” Jonathan
Jonathan and Dion strive to be role models in their community - teaching music and language to kids, advocating healthy lifestyles as well as in their professional capacity as youth workers. They challenge young people to dream big and hope to empower them to achieve their goals.
Performances last year included Wide Open Space Festival (Alice Springs), Tjungu Festival (Uluru), the NT Song of the Year Awards (Darwin), BIGSOUND music industry conference (Brisbane) and Nannup Festival (WA). Previously they have supported Neil Murray, Archie Roach, The Basics, Russell Morris and Midnight Oil.
Their debut single 'Waru' was a finalist in the rock category of the NT Song of the Year awards 2016 and they were featured on the 2017 ABC compilation ‘Deadly Hearts’ covering Midnight Oil’s song ‘The Dead Heart.