King Stingray are a four piece from Yirrkala, North-East Arnhem Land. Formed by Yirrŋa Yunupiŋu (nephew of the late Dr M Yunupiŋu – Yothu Yindi frontman) and Roy Kellaway (son of Stu Kellaway – Yothu Yindi founding member and bass player), King Stingray blend ancient indigenous melodies with surf, indie and funk influences to create a genre of their own, Yolŋu surf-rock.
Premiering on triple j’s 2020 with Richard Kingsmill, their debut single Hey Wanhaka is a playful song about finding love in the city. Written in both English and Yolŋu Matha, the band integrate the traditional Yolŋu manikay (traditional song-line) of the Lorrpu (white cockatoo) into a groove heavy, indie rock song. Travelling around the place like a cockatoo, “Hey Wanhaka” literally means “Hey, where you going?”.
“A seriously exciting debut from King Stingray!” – Dave Ruby Howe, triple j Unearthed
“…An instant classic” – Claire Mooney, triple j Unearthed (5 stars)
The Chats caught wind of the band just in time to snap them up for their own label, Bargain Bin Records. “I’m bloody stoked to have King Stingray on board the Bargain Bin train (it’s a crazy train, like the Ozzy Osbourne song)” says The Chats frontman Eamon Sandwith “I’m very much looking forward to seeing them grow as a band and I can’t wait till we can hit the road and do some shows together!”.
King Stingray is a story of lifelong friendship, of two cultures coming together. From toddlers in the Yothu Yindi tour entourage in the 90s, to fully fledged Yothu Yindi members today, Yirrŋa (current lead singer of Yothu Yindi) and Roy (current guitarist of Yothu Yindi and Emily Wurramara) have been playing and making music together for as long as they can remember. King Stingray seamlessly blends Yirrŋa’s timeless Yolŋu manikay vocals with Roy’s indie pop credentials (Mary Handsome, Django George).
Young multi-instrumentalist Dimathaya Burarrwanga joins the King Stingray line-up on drums and percussion, with Campbell Messer taking care of bass and back up vocals.
Determined to follow in the grand footsteps of their parents in Yothu Yindi, King Stingray are the new generation, celebrating indigenous culture and multiculturalism through music.