Home Music Music News

Indigenous Artists Go Viral with COVID-19 Awareness Video

“A true community campaign is just that a campaign largely designed and delivered by the target community,” explains Skinnyfish’s Mark Grose.


While COVID-19 lockdowns continue around the world, a group of Northern Territory musicians have managed to go viral with their series of videos for not-for-profit organisation One Disease.

Though the notion of anything going viral in this current climate is undoubtedly something the general public would wish to avoid, some of the Northern Territory’s most prominent musicians have come together to go viral for all the right reasons.

Produced in conjunction with Skinnyfish Music, the series of videos features members of Saltwater Band, Ripple Effect, B2M, and Nabarlek, and have managed to go viral since they were first uploaded.

The videos combine positive messaging amidst the current pandemic, providing viewers with safe health practices during this time of social distancing, ultimately urging those watching to “help spread the word not the virus”.

The most notable of these, a dance song called “Wash Your Hands” (featuring Elcho Island’s Manuel Dhurrkay, the comedic talents of Nigel Yunupingu, and the kids of Arnhem Land), has helped remind viewers of the titular message, combining catchy music with an intriguing set of dance clips, and has managed to achieve 45,000 views in just a single weekend.

“The reach of this campaign is massive,” says One Disease CEO Michelle Dowden. “Over 100,000 views of our videos across the campaign and a viral hit with Manuel’s catchy ‘Wash Your Hands’ video is a result we can all be proud of.

“Grassroots messages that are engaging and created from the communities themselves are a key component of the success of this campaign. This handwashing clip ticks the boxes for an incredibly effective health campaign and is actively and innovatively contributing to spreading the message across remote Australia.”

Having only been uploaded a couple of weeks ago, the campaign is already on track to be one of the most-viewed and most effective of all the public health campaigns launched in the Northern Territory. With the larger campaign featuring messages in five different languages from across the Territory, half of its population have managed to view the campaign via Facebook alone.

“We are proud to be involved with One Disease’s COVID-19 campaign,” adds Mark Grose, Music Managing Director of Skinnyfish. “A true community campaign is just that a campaign largely designed and delivered by the target community.

“This is exactly what the Hand Washing campaign has delivered a community campaign. It is a bottom-up campaign that trusts the voice of the community and not a top-down campaign that relies on expert opinion being disseminated by talking heads.”

“People across the Top End love music that’s good, music that makes you feel like you have energy,” notes Manuel Dhurrkay, whose role in the viral campaign has been met with acclaim. “We want people to feel like they want to do something about this virus out here.

“We can be serious with the message but also we can have some fun while we’re doing it. Lots of the communities like hearing Yolngu music singing and telling stories. They listen to it in a different way.”