Music!Dance!Culture! Episode 3. On Milpirri and digging yams of knowledge with Wanta Steven Jampijinpa Patrick and Jerry Jangala Patrick

Photo: Warlpiri Elders Wanta Steven Jampijinpa Patrick (L) and Jerry Jangala Patrick (R)

In this episode we learn about a Warlpiri traditional culture and hip hop festival called Milpirri. Milpirri is a one-night event held every two years in the Warlpiri community of Lajamanu, Northern Territory. We chat to Milpirri creative director, Wanta Steven Jampijinpa Patrick and his father, Warlpiri elder, Jerry Jangala Patrick about their motivations for Milpirri, community attitudes towards it, as well as Sudiipta Dowsett about the important role of choreographed hip-hop with Warlpiri school children at these events.

“We just want to give the identity back to the country. That’s Milpirri to us. It’s the rise of the hot air and meeting up with the falling of the cold air and they develop into a thundercloud”. — Wanta Steven Jampijinpa Patrick

“Wardinyi-jarrija – that word means [they] ‘get happy’ “. —Jerry Jangala Patrick

“It’s a celebration of us all coming together and accepting each others’ past” — Wanta Steven Jampijinpa Patrick

“Pinarri-maninjaku ngurrju-nyayirni yapaku” [Everybody learning together, it’s good for people] — Jerry Jangala Patrick

Music featured from Milpirri by Tracks Inc., Jampijinpa, Jangala and Lajamanu Community

Other music

Links to resources

  • Australian Research Council Linkage Project (LP190100552) Indigenous Futurity: Milpirri as Experimental Ceremony

Recent work:

Research publications on Milpirri

Biddle, J. 2019. “Milpirri: Activating the At-Risk.” In Energies and the Arts, edited by D. Kahn, 351–371. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Dowsett, Sudiipta Shamalii 2021. Sampling Ceremony: Hip-hop Workshops and Intergeneration Cultural Production in the Central Australian Desert. The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology 22(2-3): 184-202.

Patrick, W. S. J. 2008. Milpirri: Performance as a Bridge that Joins the Ancient with the Modern. Ngoonjook 33: 53–60.

Patrick, W. S. J. 2014. “Pulya-ranyi: Winds of Change.” Cultural Studies Review 21 (1): 121–131.

Patrick, W. S. J., and J. L. Biddle. 2018. “Not Just Ceremony, Not Just Dance, Not Just Idea: Milpirri as Hyperrealism, a Key Word Discussion.” Visual Anthropology Review 34 (1): 27–35.

Warlpiri terms used in the podcast

Jardiwanpa     A large-scale reconciliation ceremony involving Dreaming songs

yawulyu          A women’s public ceremonial traditional song and dance genre

purlapa            A men’s public ceremonial traditional song and dance genre

yankirri            emu. The emu ancestor in the yankirri section of Jardiwanpa.

Yinapaka         Lake Surprise, a significant Warlpiri sacred site on the Jardiwanpa songline

yuwayi             yes

Produced by Georgia Curran and Mahesh White-Radhakrishnan with guest co-producers Sudiipta Shamalii Dowsett, Wanta Steven Jampijinpa Patrick and Jerry Jangala Patrick.

Theme music by Mahesh, produced by Arian Pearson. Sound design by Mahesh with inputs (sound samples) from Alexis Weaver.

Thanks to Jangala, Jampijinpa and the Lajamanu Community, Tracks Dance Company & Monkey Marc, Grace Marshall, PAW Media, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, the Australian Anthropological Society,  Alexis Weaver , Samuel Curkpatrick, Bronwyn Griffiths, Jennifer Biddle, the Curran-Palmer Family and Jennifer White-Radhakrishnan.

Rewind sound by NikPlaymostories downloaded from

Samples in sound design include beats by Lyrism, Danke, and Fixturebeats from