Wanapa's Dhapi Dance entire film
film ©2009 Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Incorporated
While living in the remote Australian Aboriginal community of Yirrkala, I launched and ran the Mulka Project multimedia archive and production centre. We filmed a dhapi, the wild ceremony leading up to a group of boys' circumcision, an important rite of passage. Included is some silly role reversal, with no one better than my friend and co-worker Wanapa. I got a wild notion one day to edit his dancing to Madonna's 'Ray of Light' and it proved to be a big hit in the community. After I returned to the USA, I was asked to replace the Madonna track so they could sell the film on DVD, so I wrote and sang this song, a none too subtle facsimile of Madonna's song, in the Gumatj language.