Barkly Desert Culture


A Barkly regional council youth diversion program 


Based out of the Barkly Region of the Northern Territory Australia in the remote Indiginous communities of; Ampilatwatja, Alicurung, Utopia, Elliott and Alpurrurulam, the Barkly Regional Council provides music and film and multi - media programs with youth aged from 14 - 30. In 2014 we hired Monkey Marc and Beatrice Lewis, Musicians to work with the young men and young women in music workshops. Leo Ortega and Sean Spencer worked with the young people on film clips for their songs. The songs and film clips discuss important issues in the communities such as domestic violence, substance abuse and alcohol abuse and how these issues effect their communities. Using transference of knowledge programs and cultural engagement processes content is culturally appropriate and explores traditional stories in a modern context. 



Barkly Desert Culture volume 1

by produced by Barkly Regional Council in conjunction with Monkey Marc and Beatrice Lewis and young people of the Barkly region

Barkly Desert Culture is a Youth Diversion Program ran by Barkly Regional Council in the Northern Territory. Apart of our Youth Sports and Recreation Division of the Community Services team, we offer the communities of; Ampilatwatja, Elliott, Ali Curung, Utopia and Alpurrurulam Multi Media programs. Through these programs participants aged from 14 - 30 learn skills such as music and film making, camera skills, film making and music making skills. Through the program participants learn how to preserve stories and culture through modern means learning to re connect with culture. 

Monkey Marc; Marc Peckham and Beatrice Lewis were employed to work with the young men and women in the communities of; Ampilatwtaja, Elliott Alicurung and Utopia to teach the young people music. Leo Ortega and Sean Spencer worked with the communities to create film clips of the songs. 


Ali curung NT

Monkey Marc, Marc Peckham and Leo Ortega spent eight weeks in Alicurung of 2014 working with young people of Alicurung making music, and films. We set up a permanent music studio which Monkey Marc taught the young men how to use. Ongoing training of the facility is going on in Alicurung with Monkey Marc and Beatrice Lewis set to return to keep the skills up to date and to create new work.

Beatrice Lewis with Music NT worked with the young women of Ali Curung to make music and to hold music and song writing sessions. 

The video below was an outcome of a process where the young men went out with select traditional owners of Ali Curung to discuss issues regarding the way the way life has changed over the generations. These ideas were then workshopped in the studio and turned into a song then this film clip. 

Keep Our Family Strong was a collaboration between Barkly Regional Council and Music NT with Beatrice Lewis and Monkey Marc, Leo Ortega Made the excellent animation with the kids of Ali Curung. 

Kids on the run is a film clip by Leo Ortega with the young people of Ali Curung the song was recorded by Monkey Marc with the young people of Ali Curung. 

The music below was recorded by Monkey Marc with the young men and Beatrice Lewis with the young women of Ali Curung. Please listen to the tracks by clicking below. 



Desert sevenz & E-Town Boyz

& Hill Boyz  


The Desert 7'z / E Town Boyz and Hill Boyz are a hip-hop crew from three different remote Aboriginal communities spanning a radius of 700 kms. Desert Sevenz are a group of young men from Ampilatwatja community. The Hill Boyz are from Epenarra community and The E Town Boyz are from Elliott. Members range from 19-23 years of age, they live in what's known as the Barkly region, which is the second biggest council region in the world - and twice the size of the state of Victoria. They all met for the first time in Alice Springs in 2014 at the Dirty Word poetry festival, where they performed on-stage as a combined act for the first time.

They write songs collaboratively together incorporating beats and discussing issues they would like to include as lyrics. Their songs incorporate traditional language, social issues, dreamtime stories and cultural history.

The crew grew up listening to a variety of musical genres like hip-hop, reggae and metal. They've been influenced by a wide range of music like Metallica, Snoop Dog, Guns n Roses,  Dr Dre, Eminem and Lucky Dube. Their favourite artists at the moment are Biggey Small, Tupac, NWA and Cypress Hill.


The film below was apart of the Alywarr sessions which was a combined project with Barkly Regional Council and Desert Pea Media in 2013. 

In 2013 they had the opportunity to work with Desert Pea Media, a not for profit company specialising in working with Indigenous communities and recording and creating Hip Hop and recording stories in contemporary mediums such as song and dance. Fly Back Home and Two Wayz were created and an EP called "The Alyawarr Sessions" was launched.  

In 2014 they worked with Hip Hop producer, Monkey Marc on three new tracks; Alyawarr Hip Hop, Because of our skin and Make the Change. Alyawarr Hip Hop is a collaboration between the Hill Boyz and the Desert Sevenz 

In 2015 they were given the National Local Government Award in the 'Arts Animates' category which saw two members flown to Canberra to meet with politicians about the Barkly Youth Program 'Desert Culture'. This program is a youth diversion initiative by Barkly Regional Council, collaborating with music producers Monkey Marc and Beatrice Lewis. They won the NIMA Award for best community film clip 'Fly Back Home' in 2014, a collaboration with Desert Pea media, a not-for-profit organisation specialising in producing hip-hop music videos in remote Aboriginal communities.

Their song 'Because of Our Skin' has been added to the rotation of Triple J Unearthed radio, and have performed live on ABC Local radio and were interviewed on Triple J Radio in June 2015 for NAIDOC Week.

E - Town Boyz

The E Town Boyz were discovered in 2014 as apart of Monkey Marc's first visit to Elliott. Stop the violence and Take a Minute to Think were recorded which discuss the communities' issues of domestic violence and drink driving. The songs came out of workshops with the group of young men from the community and tell a powerful story of their community. 

Hill Boyz 

The Hill Boyz come out of Epenarra NT and were first discovered by Desert Pea media in 2013 as apart of the Alywarr sessions program and have created more recent work with Monkey Marc and Sean Spencer in collaboration with the Desert Sevenz and E Town Boyz. They have recently created three new tracks with Monkey Marc and Ozi Batla in Elliott as apart of the Barkly Desert Culture youth program. 

Recent performances have included Youth Week in Tennant Creek, Wide Open Space Festival at Ross River Resort, a fundraiser at Watch This Space Gallery in Alice Springs. In September 2015 they were selected by MusicNT to take part in three days of music mentoring, followed by a performance at Bush Bands Bash, the biggest annual Aboriginal music concert in Central Australia.
They are looking forward to recording a new album together in Elliott under t*/he new combined names of the Desert 7s, produced by renowned Australian hip-hop producer Monkey Marc (of Combat Wombat). The album is due for release in 2016.

In May of 2015 The; Desert Sevenz, Hill Boyz and E Town Boyz performed at a festival near Alice Springs Nt called Wide Open Space Festival. Here is a video of their live performance at the festival. 

In September of 2015 the Desert Sevenz were invited to be apart of Music Nt's Bush Bands Business and the Bush Bands Bash; A big music development program incorporating Indigenous bands from central Australia and Music industry professionals. At Bush Bands Business they learned about the music industry and had the opportunity to hone their skills with music professionals from across the country before playing in Alice Springs at the prestigious Bush Bands Bash. Bush Bands Bash has been showcasing Indigenous bands for years, however this year was the first time in its history that they had a Hip Hop act. The fellas performed brilliantly and stepped up to the task. This video showcases two songs from their set at the show this year. 




Facilitators Beatrice Lewis and Monkey Marc have been attending Elliott providing music workshops to the young people of Elliott in 2014 - 2016. They have been creating music on issues that affect the small town 200k's North of Tennant Creek on the Stuart Highway of the NT. Issues such as drink driving, domestic violence, binge drinking, gambling and culture were discussed in the songs and film clips. 

A film Clip of a local traditional story; Goanna Dreaming describes the traditional story in a contemporary way for a new generation. Working with elders and custodians of the story, the story was recorded first as a spoken word piece then re - created into a song. 

The fellas from Elliott; "The E - Town Boyz" have been touring extensively in 2015, playing at Wide Open Space Festival in May, Bush Bands in Alice Springs and have been conducting positive Role Modelling workshops with the schools of Imanpa community as apart of their Healthy Living week and Ampilatwatja community as apart of the CAAMA music program in November 2015. 

Aussie Battler, a well known MC from Hip Hop groups the Herd and Astronomy Class joined Monkey Marc to produce songs with the young people of Elliott in December 2015. 

The following film clip was recorded and filmed at the Elliott school and encourages young kids of Elliott to go to school to get an education. 


Utopia is 250 ks from Alice Springs on the Sandover Highway, a community made up of 16 outstations spread out of a total space of 3250 kms square kilometers. An Alyawarr community of the Barkly Region it is about fifty ks away from Ampilatwatja.