A painted board with an image of a bat. The board is shaped with a curve at the bottom to sit easily on the dancer's neck and shoulders.

One of the Warmun Joonbas is an old oral story that has been made into a Joonba. It is the story of Lalanggarrany doo Binyjirrminy (the Crocodile and the Bat)

“A large group of animals were gathered together for a joonba. Binginy, the smelly red ant, told a lie to Binyjirrminy (the bat). He said that his thamboorroo (son-in-law) the Lalanggarrany (the crocodile) had been saying offensive things about him – he smelt bad, was too skinny and could not dance.

Binyjirrminy became furious. When his son-in-law Lalanggarrany began to dance Binyjirrminy asked everyone to build a big fire so he could see him properly. With a spear hidden between his
toes Binyjirrminy walked closer to the dancing ground. He dragged the spear along the ground closer and closer and the flames from the fire became bigger and bigger. When he came very close Binyjirrminy hooked that spear up in a woomera and hit Lalanggarrany right in the heart.

Shocked by his act of violence everyone who was gathered chased Binyjirrminy and tried to spear him. He became weak from minkiri (dodging all the spears), and ran away to hide in a cave. They started poking their spears inside the cave, trying to hit him, but they could not reach. Binyjirrminy pretended to cry out in pain. He cut his tongue and put blood on the tips of their spears. His deceit worked and believing they had killed him, his pursuers walked off. Then that sneaky Binyjirrminy sung out to them, “I’m still alive!”. Everyone returned and tried to burn him inside that cave by lighting a fire at its base. But once again he escaped through a hole at the top of the hill. The smoke from this fire is what coloured the Binyjirrminy black.”

Each Joonba is a story that has a specific connection to a place in Gija country. The Joonbas tell the story of the land. In the installation for Joonba Junba Juju three panels that the dancers use are mounted on the wall. A projection over the top of two of the boards show the country that the boards represent while the Joonbas are projected above.

 

Watch Gabriel Nodea speak about performing Joonba and explain the Binyjirrminy Joonba

 

To see a documentary about station life and being an artist in the Kimberley visit ABC Open