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Aboriginal rock refers to a style of music which mixes rock music with the instrumentation and singing styles of Aboriginal people. Two countries with prominent Aboriginal rock scenes are Australia and Canada.
In Australia, Aboriginal rock mixes rock styles and instruments (e.g. electric (guitar, bass and drums) with Indigenous Australian instruments such as the Didgeridoo and clapsticks. Aboriginal rock is mostly performed by Indigenous bands, although some bands include non-Aboriginal members.
Bands include Yothu Yindi, Us Mob and No Fixed Address. Yothu Yindi, with vocalist Mandawuy Yunupingu has politicised lyrics, such as 1991's "Treaty." Other songs relate more generally to Aboriginal culture. Another major band is the Warumpi Band, which toured with Midnight Oil. The Warumpi Band focuses more on the Aboriginal aspects of the music, rather than the rock sound of Yothu Yindi. In the 2000s, Aboriginal bands such as NoKTuRNL have adopted a rap metal or nu metal sound. Formal training institutions include the Government sponsored Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts.
Canada's aboriginal people include First Nations, Métis and Inuit. Some examples of Canadian Aboriginal rock bands or artists include Edward Gamblin, George Leach, Derek Miller, Breach of Trust, Kashtin, Bruthers of Different Muthers, Digging Roots and Burnt Project 1.
The Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards acknowledge and honour the keepers, teachers, promoters, creators and performers of Aboriginal music. As well, the awards develop and promote the diversity of all Aboriginal music, celebrate the excellence of Aboriginal music, and recognise the unique vision and musical styles of Aboriginal Canadian musicians, which include traditional chanting and drumming.
Awards are offered in a number of categories, such as blues, folk, and rock.
- Peter Dunbar-Hall, (1997), Music and Meaning: The Aboriginal Rock Album, Australian Aboriginal Studies, 1997/1, pp. 38–47