The Arts

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Two of a kind

Yamba’s playtime is a 30-minute variety style program for children and includes music, song, dance, stories and tales about activities in the life of ‘Yamba the yerrampe’ (honeyant). Produced and aired by Imparja television, Yamba’s Playtime has been entertaining audiences throughout remote Australia for 16 years, and also features Jacinta Price, who is Yamba’s best friend as well as a singer, songwriter and performer.

DEADLY SOUNDS: Yamba and Jacinta – thanks for joining us. So Jacinta, what have you and Yamba been up to lately?

Jacinta Price: Well, I’m Yamba’s best friend, so wherever Yamba goes, I go. Because Yamba’s five years old, he needs somebody to look after him on the road and when we’re performing and during shooting our TV program as well.

DS: Now Yamba, you’re about to hit the road again?

Yamba: Yes. Well actually Rhoda we’ve just come back from a really, really fantastic road show tour to North West Queensland and the Gulf and it was so splodgerrific – isn’t that right Jacinta?

JP: Absolutely! We had an absolute ball. We first started off performing in Mt Isa and then we went to Cloncurry, followed by Normanton, Burketown and Karumba. We flew over and spent the day on Mornington Island and then we went to Doomadgee and Gregory Downs. So it’s been a long two weeks on the road but we loved it.

DS: You’ve also got a new road show rap out – how did that come about?

JP: There was one episode where Yamba was making some wishes and in this episode Yamba wished that he could be a rap super star. I’ve been performing hip hop since I was 15 so I came up with Yamba’s rap song and Yamba absolutely loves it.

DS: That sounds great – one of your other songs is called ‘Cuppy’. Can you tell us a little bit about that one?

JP: Well, we wanted to get across the importance of drinking lots of water and keeping hydrated especially when it’s a hot summer’s day – the best drink for you to have is water, so we want to make sure the kids know that’s very important.

DS: One of the great things about the show are the healthy messages it sends out to the community – how do the kids react?

JP: Kids absolutely love Yamba. Yamba is like a celebrity when we visit these communities. Earlier in the year we visited Charleville, Quilpie, Cunnamulla, St George, Bollon and Roma in South East Queensland, and wherever we go, the kids just greet us with huge smiles and excitement. We get massive cuddles from all the kids everywhere we go, don’t we Yamba?

Yamba: Yeah that’s right! We love seeing all the boys and girls and telling them all the ways to keep healthy and strong.

DS: How often do you take the show on the road?

JP: As often as we can between shooting episodes here in our studios at Imparja in Alice Springs. Twice this year we’ve been on the road to Queensland and we have plans to travel to different parts of the Northern Territory later on this year.

DS: And you’ve been broadcast as well not only through Imparja but also the Nine Network?

JP: Absolutely, yes. Since getting our “P” classification we’ve been broadcast on the Nine Network. Our first series went to air earlier this year. Our second series will go to air later this year as well as the first series again. So, it’s been very exciting for us to gain a “P” classification – being an Indigenous themed children’s television program and to be broadcast on the Nine Network, yes, it’s wonderful to get out to the masses.

DS: How’s that for you Yamba, you don’t just have black fellas coming up and hugging you now, you’ve got kids from all across the country!

Yamba: Oh, we get everyone, even adults love me. It’s antastic.  We love seeing all these people. We get heaps of emails and people from the capital cities. It’s really, truly, truly antastic!

DS: And look Yamba, when you do go around to communities, what do kids see on the stage? Is it the show that they see on television or is it a little bit more?

Yamba: It’s a little bit more. It’s real life, it’s not like a television box, it’s like they see Yamba bigger than a normal person and it’s really antastic, and I don’t know what else to say because I’m only five-years-old.

DS: Well you’re doing ok and look congratulations on your Deadlys nomination. Jacinta, how is that for you? I think this is your first time nominated for a Deadly?

JP: Yes, it is my first nomination as an artist and it’s absolutely wonderful to be recognised for the hard work that goes in behind something that you’re very passionate about. I’m about to record my first solo album in October and it will be a kind of soul, blues, folk sound. My Catch the Fly crew that I perform hip hop with – we’re just mastering our album at the moment so that’ll be released quite soon as well. We’re really looking forward to being at the Deadlys this year.

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