Banjo man's wild and worldly ride into 'Gothic Australiana'

Harry Jakamarra will bring his blistering banjo skills to Yamba on Sunday.
Harry Jakamarra will bring his blistering banjo skills to Yamba on Sunday.

WHAT happens when a croc skinner puts down his knife and leaves the Kimberley in his house truck, with his banjo in tow?

A chilling collection of songs that have been described as "Gothic Australiana", that's what.

Harry Jakamarra forged his songwriting, banjo and guitar skills in settings as diverse as the desert sands north of Timbuktu, the choked back streets of Varanasi on the Ganges River, and the uninhabited reaches of the Great Sandy Desert in Western Australia.

Growing up in Broome WA, Harry was inspired to begin playing the guitar after seeing the Warumpi band perform. Soon after he picked up the five-string banjo and became a regular at local venues. Harry also developed a fascination with Indian classical slide-guitar and throughout his teens travelled to India to formally study with the gurus of Hindustani slide.

Back at home in the Kimberley, he was rapidly becoming a local favourite as well as garnering the esteem of touring artists. He shared the stage with John Butler, Missy Higgins and supported artists such as Paul Kelly and The Waifs.

In 2012 Harry released his impressive debut album.

Soon after he left Broome for Mali, in North Africa, to seek out the origins of the claw hammer banjo style. Mali was in a state of civil turmoil at this time due to a major Tuareg uprising.

Despite this, Harry travelled to Timbuktu to be mesmerised by such artists as Tinariwen and Vieux Farka Toure at the mysterious Festival au Desert. Gun battles raged nearby between Tuareg rebels and the Malian military and, at the end of the festival, Harry narrowly escaped with his life.

Returning to Broome Harry took a job at the local crocodile park as a full-time skinner. This gruelling job also involved chasing down and wrestling enraged escapees.

During this time Harry purchased an ex-navy fire engine and began converting it into a quirky, gypsy-style home on wheels. He currently lives and tours in this vehicle, which is completely off grid, solar powered and runs on used cooking oil.

At 23 years of age, Harry has already had a lifetime of interesting adventures. His captivating stories manifest in dark, emotionally charged songs. His powerful poetry, original voice and raw, intricate banjo and guitar sounds are exquisitely framed in his latest recording.

The sparse nature of the production makes the strength and maturity of Harry's songs very clear.

Jeff Lang as engineer/producer was a perfect match. With guest vocals from Liz Stringer, double bass by Ben Franz (The Waifs) and tasteful drumming by Harry's brother Albert these songs will have a lasting effect.

Harry's second album is set for release next year but in the meantime catch him in Yamba as part of his East Coast tour.

Topics:  banjo live music pacific hotel yamba

CQ's fish protection area increases by 48,000 hectares

More than 500 submissions with vast majority in favour of expansion

REVEALED: Shocking cyber bullying statistics

"Attacks” included rumours, threats to personal safety and hacking

Women secret ingredient to business success

WOMAN'S TOUCH: Thinkwater and Wandal Need and Feed team

Women in business make business all the better.

Local Partners

Coast landmarks colour month

AT 6pm every evening, for the entire month of October, two of the Capricorn Coast's most iconic landmarks will transform... for a very good cause.

Your chance to win

Learn More

WHAT'S ON: Your guide to entertainment and events this weekend

AWARD WINNING SHOW: Tequila Mockingbird can be seen at St Brednan's College, Yeppoon on Saturday.

LOOKING for something to do this weekend?

Garage Sale Trail finds treasure in trash

Richard Morvell from Trendy Trash Rockhampton, Cr Neil Fisher, and Craig Dunglison, Manager of Rockhampton Regional Waste and Recycling gear up for Garage Sale Trail.

Bargains galore on offer at garage sales this weekend

GARAGE SALE GUIDE: Find out where to grab the best bargains

Several sales are being held in Rockhampton on Saturday as part of the national Garage Sale Trail.

Your guide to the Garage Sale Trail in Rockhampton

Cathriona White's mother claims to have Jim Carrey's results

Jim Carrey and late ex-girlfriend Cathriona White

SHE claims Carrey exposed White to herpes, chlamydia, Hepatitis A

The Koi Boys are back with more covers and original songs

Former Voice contestants The Koi Boys have signed with Universal Music.

THE Voice favourites release their debut album today.

RECAP: The Bachelorette S2E10 - hometown visits

Georgia Love in a scene from season two episode 10 of The Bachelorette.

Georgia meets the families of her four beaus tonight.

The Bachelorette: Courtney too slow for Georgia's love train

Courtney Dober in a scene from The Bachelorette.

FORMER favourite eliminated after introducing Georgia to his family.

Great locations the real star in Langdon's return

INFERNAL QUEST: Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon and Felicity Jones as Dr Sienna Brooks in a scene from the movie Inferno.

INFERNO returns the hero of the Da Vinci Code, Robert Langdon.

Singing ex-diplomat brings Afghanistan war to life

Folk singer Fred Smith's concert draws on his experience as a diplomat in Afghanistan.

Fred Smith's regional Queensland tour focuses on the Afghanistan war

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

What our mayor thinks of the new draft SEQPlan

The plan to use the innovative technology as part of the new Maroochydore CBD was cemented on site today when Mayor Mark Jamieson and Envac Asia Region president Chun Yong Ha formally signed the contract for the $20 million underground waste collection system.

New plan accommodates Sunshine Coast Council's vision for growth.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track

Heavyweight enters real estate market

Des Besanko principal and director of Raine and Horne Springfield.

Major rebranding which has seen two big name brands merge

SEQ is the 'greatest market': property guru John McGrath

SPEAKER: John McGrath of McGrath Estate Agents is today's guest speaker at the Better Business Breakfast.

SEQ is the "greatest" real estate market, says property guru.