From various Internet sources I learn that Ali Mills was born and raised in Darwin. She is the daughter of famous Indigenous performer and musician David Mills and activist mother Kathy Mills. As a member of Darwin’s The Mills Sisters (not to be confused with the Torres Strait Island Mills Sisters), Ali has supported acts such as Tina Turner, Charlie Pride and Bullamakanka, as well as starring on the festival circuit and winning several awards. Although having been a performer for over 4 decades, Mills has only recently released her first solo album titled “Waltjim Bat Matilda” which includes a track in which Ali performs ‘Waltzing Matilda’ in her Gurindji/Kungarakan language and Kriol (an amalgam of the languages of European settlers, Chinese and other Asians and the indigenous people in the northern regions of Australia which is spoken by about 30,000 people in the Darwin area).
Here’s Ali singing, from her album, this exuberant version of one of Autralia’s best known folk songs:
“Basically this album for me is a thank you to my elders for what they gave me, what they taught me in terms of song and music, laughter, joy, culture, identity and heritage. It’s all in my songs, it’s a huge tribute to my elders that have passed on,” says Ali.
Custodians of story and culture are special people in all Indigenous communities, and while it may have taken her awhile, it’s clear to see that Ali’s inspiration to finally record came from a very important and spiritual place.
On the Skinnyfish Music label, the album is available from their website: www.skinnyfishmusic.com.au