30 April 2024

Cape and Torres performers to unite for NPA celebration of culture

| Chisa Hasegawa
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NPA Injinoo dancers

Dancers from various cultural backgrounds will unite at the 2024 Northern Peninsula Area Cultural Festival in July. Photo: Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups from across the Northern Peninsula Area will unite once again at the biennial NPA Cultural Festival on 11-13 July.

The 2024 festival will travel between the communities of Injinoo, Umagico, Seisia and New Mapoon before it finishes in Bamaga, where a fire torch will be lit to signify peace, unity and the flame of culture.

Themed United Cultures = Strong Future, the festival will feature Torres Strait Islander dance groups from Mabuaig, Murray and Boigu islands, alongside Cape York dance groups from Lockhart River, Aurukun, Coen, and Old Mapoon.

“Dance is the unifying aspect, we all love to dance,” festival co-ordinator Dev Lengjel said.

In a festival first, Mr Lengjel said he hoped to have traditional stories and songs translated into English as well.

“I always felt that was missing, for me; I want to understand the words throughout, not just get the story at the beginning of the dance,” he said.

“When they jump around and have words for that jumping, what does it actually mean?

“I want everyone watching to be able to associate what they see with what they hear.”

READ ALSO NPA fires up for cultural festival

Cultural dances will not be the only performance, with First Nations musician Mitch Tambo and comedian Sean Choolburra on the roster to entertain what are expected to be big crowds.

“Sean Choolburra is on Friday night and Mitch Tambo closes the festival on Saturday night, when we also have the giant fireworks,” Mr Lengjel said.

“It’s really cool to have two Indigenous headline acts as part of the festival.”

The NPA is situated at the northernmost tip of Cape York, and is home to three Aboriginal communities – Injinoo, Umagico and New Mapoon – and two Torres Strait Islander communities, Bamaga and Seisia.

The festival aims to create unity through a variety of events that display dance, music, art, food and culture.

Festival goers will also have the chance to pick up new skills at the various workshops on offer, such as weaving, spear making, and jewellery making.

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