Into the Mainstream


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1989, 55 Minutes

Every 'overnight sensation' in the music industry is preceded by a few years of fine-tuning the act. But 40,000 years? From the far north of Australia, YOTHU YINDI draws on the song cycle of its Arnhem Land ancestors to create a mesmeric mix of traditional Aboriginal music and rock 'n' roll.

Into the Mainstream takes us on a journey across the vast continent of America with YOTHU YINDI, on the 'Diesel and Dust to Big Mountain' concert tour featuring MIDNIGHT OIL and American Indian band GRAFITTI MAN. The bands travel 16,000 km over 38 days and play to crowds of up to 10,000.

On the way they meet American Indian communities to talk about land rights and cultural identity, culminating in the presentation of a gift from the Yolngu people in Arnhem Land to the Navajo elders in Big Mountain, Arizona.

YOTHU YINDI proves to be a revelation on tour - Aboriginal traditional music and dance quickly become the latest American vogue in performing art.

Produced with the assistance of The Australian Film Commission. Distributed by the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.


Directors: Ned Lander, John Whitteron

Featured People: Mandawuy Yunupingu, Peter Garrett, John Trudell

Year: 1989

Running Time: 55 Minutes

Classification: Exempt from classification

Region: 0

Curriculum Links: Indigenous Studies; Music, Culture and Society; Beliefs and Values; Contemporary Australian Society; English; HSIE/SOSE.


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