A MUSICAL friendship between a young group of men and a local Indigenous elder is being celebrated on stage.
Uncle Alex Munro is a Gamilaroi man and elder from Tingha who teamed up to play music in the Murrigeejar Mob with Jesse Wright and George Huitker in 2022.
They will play their debut album in a concert at the Tingha Sport and Recreation club on December 15.
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The extended touring band includes Jesse's father Dalle and younger brother Oscar on guitar and bass with longstanding percussionist Fin Marshalsey on drums.
"We're a pretty unusual combination of musicians, but we play from the heart," Mr Huitker said.
"It's great to have an elder involved, Jesse has a connection to the region having grown up in the area, too.
"Alex is our spirit and it's lovely to have him at the core of what we do.
"It all happened pretty organically and the crowds have always been really enthusiastic whenever we've played."
The band released its first album, Hands Up, this year.
They play ballads, rock, rap and a melody sung in language, all recorded on and celebrating Gamilaroi Country.
Many were debuted at the Myall Creek Commemoration community concert this year, including the new single and clip My Gamilaroi Country, passionately sung by Alex.
He is active within the community through his promotion of aboriginal culture, visual and performing arts, and cultural immersion tours as creative director of Droonoodoo Arts, through which he seeks to honour his cultural heritage in creating culturally authentic artworks.
In July 2022, he received an Arts Award from the Inverell/Tingha NAIDOC committee and in October this year won Best Original Song for Dust in the Wind at Inverell's Got Talent.
"I connected with Alex when I was teaching and brought school groups to Armidale and Inverell," Mr Huitker said.
"A lot of my students were very talented with music and Jesse was one of those kids (from Canberra)."
In 2018, Jesse was honoured to perform at the Myall Creek Commemoration Concert at Bingara's Roxy Theatre, which the band emulated in 2022.
He has a deep connection with and loyalty to Tingha Public School and in raising awareness about indigenous issues and culture, often through song, while learning more about his Gamilaroi heritage.
Mr Huitker has been a dynamic figure in the arts scene in Canberra for a number of years, setting up theatre companies, writing plays and musical scores and performing with his band Junk Sculpture.
With a passion for working alongside and performing for rural communities, he has set up strong links with the Gamilaroi people of the North West.
He thanked Inverell organisation Ladybug Projects for their support.
The concert is on at 7.30pm with the band signing CDs and selling merchandise.
Kids under-18 need to be accompanied by an adult.
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