Interview with Joshua Bond

Joshua Bond takes some time to talk to Voice about the Djuki Mala, inspirations, and to give advice to young people.

Interview with Joshua Bond

Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?

I'm Joshua Bond one of the Djuki Mala Family and Director of the show.

How would you describe your show?
Direct from Elcho Island, Djuki Mala (Djuki meaning 'Chooky' with a Yolngu accent and Mala meaning 'mob') perform a high-energy and stunning fusion of traditional Indigenous culture, contemporary dance and storytelling. Since their 2007 clip of 'Zorba the Greek' went viral, they've thrilled audiences with reinterpretations of popular culture and traditional dances in a way that juxtaposes contemporary Yolngu culture.

The show tells the genesis of Djuki Mala, formerly known as The Chooky Dancers, and is interspersed with multimedia and gives audiences the opportunity to experience some of the more intimate moments and turning points that have shaped them, in a show that is a marvel of timing comedy and clowning, with a hefty dose of heart and soul.

Why do you want to perform at Edinburgh Festival Fringe?

We are excited to perform in Edinburgh because it's Edinburgh Fringe! So much to love - the creativity, the driving passion and appreciation for the arts, it's such a beautiful time of year to be surrounded by such beautiful people in a beautiful city. And the bars are open till 5am... (not always a great thing!)

It's also one of the best arts markets in world, a great place for your work to be seen. The Edinburgh audiences are brilliant.

What differentiates it from other festivals?

The sheer size of it, the volume if international visitors there specifically to engage in different forms of art. Also, the quality of the audiences. Scots, We love 'em!

Do you think the Fringe has changed over the years? If so, how? Are these changes positive or negative?

Yes but its all positive, the Variety of shows, and spaces drawing in bigger shows whilst being open to the smaller shows with the ever growing free fringe, also the variety that you know see with the circus hub and other venues constantly opening up new spaces.

What first motivated you to enter the industry? Who were your inspirations?

I don't necessarily remember becoming interested in it, I just remember feeling like it was an extension to my way of living and communicating that then developed into a realisation that it was also a way of effecting change by making people feel…

If you didn't have your current job, what would you probably be doing?

Making music.

If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?

Making music

What is your earliest childhood art memory?


Do you ever feel any pressure to be a social commentator, or constantly update material to respond to events?

Absolutely, I think being a performer, director, writer, acrobat, singer any of it, is a privilege and one that gives agency. To have what is essentially a grand soap box - whether it be in a black box, a spiegeltent or a proscenium arch - where one can address the many.

With the state of the world, there is certainly no lack of topics worth commenting on, unfortunately however most of the people that would benefit from that agency are not also afforded the privilege of that "soap box". So yeah, I believe that that privilege comes with a responsibility. Not to say there isn't a place for entertainment for entertainments sake. The words of Nina Simone always come to mind when she said, "It's an artist's duty to reflect the times in which we live", and I think it's true, just as true now as it ever where, if not more so.

Equally, do you think there has been a shift in public sentiment that has affected your work?

A little bit I suppose, for example we are now seeing an increase in Aboriginal Theatre, TV, Film music more generally. So, there is definitely an increased appetite for First nation Australian Stories.

Describe the last year in 5 words or less

Saturn return, Mercury in retrograde.

Something like that, but in less words, cray cray..!

If you could work with anybody, from any point in history, who would you pick and why?

Probably my kids when they're older, because they are the most creative/crazy and fun people I know.

Why would a performer opt to do either a ticketed event or participate in the free fringe? What are the benefits and limitations of both?

I'm still learning about the free fringe but at a guess, this is a little bit to do with the fact that given the opportunity people will sometimes pay you more by their own free will than they would when asked to pay a certain amount. I like it, but obviously there are many uncertainties that go along with that.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to take a show up to the fringe?

I would suggest train for the Fringe like you would a marathon.

When and where can people see your show?

Assembly George Square Theatre - The Theatre, For the entire duration of the Festival at 4:30pm except Mondays.

And where can people find, follow and like you online?

Djuki Mala is performing at Assembly George Square Theatre at 16:30 on 3rd – 28th (not 14th, 21st). For tickets and more information visit the Ed Fringe website.


Tom Inniss

Tom Inniss Voice Team

Tom is the Editor of Voice. He is a politics graduate and holds a masters in journalism, with particular interest in youth political engagement and technology. He is also a mentor to our Voice Contributors, and champions our festivals programme, including the reporter team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe..

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