Ten years ago, Damien Thornber and Emily Minchin jumped in a car with their instruments, and took their band The Orphans on its first tour through remote Western Australia. During this tour, they had a chance encounter with a community leader who led them to visit and perform in Wangkatjungka Community in the Kimberley. Out of that community Desert Feet was born, a charitable organisation established to support the development of Indigenous music in remote Western Australia.
After years of hard work building the organisation from the ground up, Desert Feet now runs three dedicated tours every year to remote Aboriginal communities, using a custom-built 4WD concert ready recording studio truck. The Desert Feet team has also recorded thousands of hours of music, published over 400 songs on their Soundcloud, released 10 albums for artists they have developed, and produced over 100 YouTube videos. They also set up Desert Feet Records, which enables them to produce and release the music that they record.
Desert Feet recognises that Australia is a vast country, with many regional communities being so isolated that they fall between the cracks, leading to a lack of basic services, let alone music education opportunities. Music tends to fall low on the list of priorities in these communities, even though it’s been proved that music has many benefits for mental and physical wellbeing, as we recently explored.
Desert Feet wants to see that individual and Indigenous community aspirations in remote Western Australia are achieved, through music. While on tour, they do this by providing educational avenues such as music workshops on song writing, music sight-reading, music therapy, band equipment, performance and music videos. They offer emerging artists the ability to record their own songs in the Desert Feet mobile studio, with the guidance of a recording engineer, and the talented musicians who join the tour. They also transport staging production and equipment to remote communities using the Desert Feet Truck, a custom-built truck, stage and studio granted to them by Lotterywest.
Want to help keep important initiatives like this running? You can give Desert Feet a hand by either donating, fundraising, buying their albums, working for them or engaging with their social channels.
You can keep up to date with their latest news and tour announcements via the Desert Feet website.