Kardajala Kirridarra: Beatrice Lewis on storytelling & connection to country

July 11th 2017

  • Beatrice Lewis (Kardjala Kirradarra) :: Interview with Samantha Groth


Kardajala Kirridarra create captivating soundscapes using Mudburra, the Indigenous language of their region in the Northern Territory, and ambient sounds from the Australian landscape.

Songwriter and vocalist Eleanor Dixon started making music with Melbourne vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and electronic producer Beatrice Lewis, before they were joined by key translator, story-teller, poet and Eleanor’s aunty Janey Dixon. Rapper and MC Kayla Jackson completes the group.

Dropping by the FBi Radio studio to chat about how Kardajala Kirridarra came together, Lewis explained the need to honour the land through their practice.

“It’s just like, such a rich, amazing place… there’s so many sounds and colours. It’s amazing – all mainly from country.”

Kardajala Kirridarra translates to mean ‘Sandhill Women’, and Kardajala is the name of the mysterious bush woman from the sandhills behind the community of Malinja, NT. This traditional story forms the foundations of the musical project.

“This spirit woman, she’s in this world but she carries all the dreaming with her the same way we walk on the earth, and we’re a part of the earth. So she’s a very strong spirit woman.”

Kardajala Kirridarra seamlessly blends hypnotising vocals and sounds from the Australian landscape to reflect emotion. Their self-titled debut album features seed pods, thunders storms and clap sticks made by Eleanor’s father.

“I don’t know if it makes sense sometimes. When I try to re-talk about the things that I learn out there I just mumble because it’s such a strong feeling, it’s just hard to put into words.”

Kardajala Kirridarra tells the story of the importance of women as creators. Their storytelling brings together past, present and future.

“There’s a lot of words that have meanings about how people relate to country or their families, and we don’t really have those words in English. It’s like we don’t really have those words because we don’t have those, sort of, connections or those meanings.”

Listen to Beatrice Lewis discuss Kardajala Kirridarra’s debut record and her favourite Mudburra words with Samantha Groth, above.


We’re featuring tracks from the self titled Kardajala Kirridarra album all this week on FBi Radio.