SYDNEY - Locked down in COVID-19 biosecurity zones, thousands of kilometers from Australia's big cities, aboriginal artists are performing online to global audiences for the first time. Musicians from northeast Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory are joining the worldwide trend of artists in lockdown performing from home.
For a month, indigenous artists are giving free weekend performances online. The virtual concerts are helping to sustain the region’s musicians during the age of COVID-19. Festivals and other cultural events have been canceled.
The executive producer, Nicholas O’Riley, hopes new audiences will enjoy what they hear.
“Doing the East Arnhem live is great, [a] great opportunity for them to keep playing, but also, you know, open up their music to a whole different audience from, you know, right around the world,” he said. “Hopefully we will see, you know, an EP [extended play record] or a small album come out of it.”
There are no known cases of COVID-19 in Arnhem Land. The government said aboriginal Australians are one of the groups most at risk from the disease because of widespread ill health and overcrowded housing.
Indigenous people make up about 3 percent of the Australian population, and they suffer high rates of chronic disease, poverty and imprisonment.
Travel to and from remote parts of the Northern Territory is being tightly controlled under efforts to protect indigenous communities from the spread of the new coronavirus.