30 May 2023

Troy Cassar-Daley returns to complete cancelled Cape tour

| Sarah Martin
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The Harrigan boys – Porky, Dylan, Pando and Cliff with friend and country music icon Troy Cassar-Daley, who is returning to the Cape this week.

The Harrigan boys – Porky, Dylan, Pando and Cliff with friend and country music icon Troy Cassar-Daley, who is returning to the Cape this week.

COUNTRY music superstar Troy Cassar-Daley is looking forward to taking a break with the local musicians he calls brothers when they play three community shows in the Cape, starting Saturday.

The record-breaking 40-time Golden Guitar award winner said he loves travelling the Cape and bringing people together with his music.

“I’ve just finished 27 shows for the Red Hot Summer Tour and this will be a much-needed break for me up the Cape,” he told Cape York Weekly.

“We will join forces with the (Harrigan) boys just like we did for the last (Cape) tour.

“I love the people up north, they’re so laid back and genuine and easy to be around. They see music as bringing people together like glue, it’s been that way for me since my first visit with Brian Young in 1990.”

It was during that initial tour in the 90s that Cassar-Daley first crossed paths with the Harrigan brothers, who went on to form the award-winning Black Image Band.

“Cliffy Harrigan was with me on my first big tour with the Brian Young show and we have been like brothers ever since,” he said.

Black Image Band has performed with Cassar-Daley many times over the years, most recently in 2021 when the musicians toured the Cape, playing from Old Mapoon to Cooktown.

“What an adventure it was catching up with them and playing music for everyone,” he said.


CASSAR-Daley knew he had to cancel his scheduled 2021 concert in Coen out of respect when there was a death in the community.

He vowed to return and this trip is about keeping that promise.

Days after finishing an Australian tour, the country crooner and proud Gumbaynggirr/Bundjalung man will sing for the community he missed.

And once word spread that the star was coming to town, he happily agreed to sing at events in Hope Vale and Wujal Wujal.

“Once word got out that I was coming up, a few more communities booked shows so it grew into something bigger than first thought,” Cassar-Daley said.

Troy Cassar-Daley with Harrigan brothers at Normanby Station in 2021.

Troy Cassar-Daley with Harrigan brothers at Normanby Station in 2021.

Coen Regional Aboriginal Corporation general manager Lucretia Creek-Huen said the community was excited to have the singer kick off their NAIDOC Week celebrations on Monday, June 5.

“He approached us because he really wanted to have that concert after he wasn’t able to perform for us in 2021,” she said.

“The community is getting quite excited and it’s great to be able to bring such a big celebrity up and not have to leave community to see him.”

Cassar-Daley will meet a legion of young fans at the school, including the band members who will open his concert.

“They have been learning about Indigenous musicians in class and learning to play Troy’s song, River Boy,” Ms Creek-Huen said.

“We’re hoping he will get up and sing that one with them.”

Cassar-Daley will mingle with the community at a big breakfast on Tuesday morning, before heading to Hope Vale for an afternoon concert, also featuring the school’s brass band.

Cape York Aboriginal Australia Academy Hope Vale campus principal Tammy Gibson said her students and the community were excited for the event.

“The kids will perform between 12pm and 2pm and the council is also having a barbecue and meet and greet,” Ms Gibson said.

“Troy will be there to watch the school band perform and our yimbala dancers and barefoot ballerinas. It’s pretty exciting!”

But before Coen and Hope Vale, Cassar-Daley will visit Wujal Wujal, a place close to his heart and the spiritual home of Black Image Band.

They will perform on Sunday, June 4 as part of Community Togetherness Day.

The band’s lead guitarist and longtime friend of Cassar-Daley, Porky Harrigan, said it would be a fun community day.

“It’s always good to get back there to play for the mob, all the family,” he said.

“There are other local bands as well, it’s going to be a fun day with games, barbecue, footy and that sort of stuff.”

Troy Cassar-Daley performing at the Cooktown Expo.

Troy Cassar-Daley performing at the Cooktown Expo.

Wujal Wujal sisters Florence and Kathleen Walker said the small community would welcome Cassar-Daley with open arms.

“We are very excited! This will be Troy’s second visit here,” they said.

“The first visit was when Troy was brought here by two wise men who played music throughout the Cape, the late Ronnie Harrigan and Brian Young.

“They were legends amongst the communities.

“Bama always looked forward to meeting and greeting new artists.

“Troy was only a boy back then, travelling with the Brian Young Show, touring from one community to another.”

Kathleen said there would be more formalities for the Golden Guitar Hall of Famer.

“This time the Traditional Owners are going to do it the proper way,” she said.

“When Troy arrives, we will take him up to the waterfall for a smoking ceremony to Welcome him to Country.

“The Traditional Owners will then take him back to our property, where will sit down together with Troy for a feast before his show begins.”

Cassar-Daley told Cape York Weekly he was also looking forward to some time at Normanby Station.

“We always make time to fish and catch up, as busy as it is,” he said.

“We’ll also be around the campfire with stories and songs – I can’t wait actually.

Mr Harrigan said it was important to take a break and spend some time on country.

“It’ll be good to catch up with Troy, we won’t so much be talking about music, but about fishing,” he said.

“Bloody oath – he’s a good fisherman! He’ll fish in a puddle if he has to.”

Catch Troy Cassar-Daley in concert at Wujal Wujal on June 4 from 4pm, Coen on June 5 from 6pm and Hope Vale on June 6 at midday.

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