Anyupa Butcher interview

We caught up with Anyupa Butcher to discuss the incredible debut of ‘BIG NAME, NO BLANKETS’ at the Sydney Festival.

The show takes a deep dive into the legendary Warumpi Band, exploring its legacy. Anyupa Butcher, the mastermind behind the production and daughter of founding member Sammy Butcher, sheds light on the band’s significance.

Rock is inherently about rebellion, and it’s this ethos that makes the Warumpi Band so poignant – being the first Aboriginal rock band to record an album in an Aboriginal language, Luritja.

Originating from the outback community of Papunya in the late ’70s, the Warumpi Band shook up the music scene by fusing traditional Indigenous storytelling with the powerful genre of desert reggae.

The production skillfully showcases this unique blend, immersing the audience in the languages and cultures of Luritja, Warlpiri, and Gumatj/Yolngu Martha.

Warumpi’s tunes, known for their rock/reggae sound and thought-provoking social commentary, include hits like “Jailanguru Pakurnu,” “My Island Home,” and “Blackfella/Whitefella,” which still resonate today.

More than just a band, the Warumpi Band played a crucial role as cultural ambassadors, breaking down language barriers to foster understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

“BIG NAME, NO BLANKETS” captures this transformative power of music. It’s a lively show filled with laughs, iconic tunes, and electrifying live performances, honoring the enduring legacy of the Warumpi Band, informing, and inspiring future bands like King Stingray.

It’s not just a show; it’s a heartfelt tribute to her fathers and band’s groundbreaking achievements. From their sacred honey-ant Dreaming site namesake to their pioneering first Aboriginal language rock song, the Warumpi Band’s influence is undeniable.

The inclusive spirit that defined the Warumpi Band lives on in “BIG NAME, NO BLANKETS.” Mixing rock and country storytelling with English, Luritja, and Gumatj, the musical pulses with the raw energy of a live concert.

Co-directed by Dr. Rachael Maza AM and Anyupa Butcher, the production wowed audiences at the Sydney Festival, hailed as the “Blak musical needed after the Indigenous Voice referendum.”

Now, as ‘BIG NAME, NO BLANKETS’ embarks on a nationwide tour, people across Australia can immerse themselves in this powerful and poignant musical about a band that broke barriers and paved the way for a First Nations music voice for generations to come.

Stay connected with Anyupa Butcher via Instagram.

Cheers to tixel for making this interview possible.