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Magic Woman Dancing – Emily Wurramara

Emily Wurramara is a captivating singer-songwriter known for her soulful voice and heartfelt lyrics that often blend traditional Indigenous language and melodies with contemporary sounds, creating a unique and enchanting style. A Warnindhilyagwa woman, Wurramara returned last month with the spellbinding track Magic Woman Dancing, released on her 28th birthday. The accompanying film clip is a visual feast – Emily, director Claudia Sangiorgi Dalimore, and acclaimed makeup artist Kaydee Kyle-Taylor shared with Ramona some behind the scenes about the making of the video.

Emily Wurramara:

“It all started with a 300+ Pinterest board that I had sent to my creative director, Claudia Sangiorgi Dalimore, based on my ideas and visuals for what I wanted. I also had this poem, an excerpt from a book I wrote in high school about this character. It kind of went all over the place and the themes were a bit hectic but Claudia managed to pull my ideas together and summarise them into the film clip. Lauren Nichols who is our producer from Pork Store Productions, then came on board to help out with locations, of course, I got in touch with my friend who is a Palawa Brother from here, to help out with finding the appropriate locations and names of those locations. 

This is the 3rd film clip I’ve filmed and I’ve never had such a big crew before to do it, it was a bit surreal. I’ve never worked with smoke/haze and it really was so beautiful like mist, I felt like I was a fairy when they put the haze on for the shots. I think the most challenging thing was the weather. It started to get freezing cold as the sun was setting. There was also one morning where my mum couldn’t make it in, so Karinda Mutabazi the stylist had to fill in for her shot. We had to get the perfect lighting for the shots, I jumped in and helped out, it was very much a community effort. Everyone had a part to play whether they were in the film clip or not.

“While filming, we stopped at a petrol station to grab some snacks and I remember seeing people’s faces as I walked in, I had the ears still on and some of the prosthetics too, the guy behind the desk was so shocked. I remember this lady had shuffled to the counter to quickly buy her things and leave. I feel like Lutruwita is strange and beautifully weird, it was at that moment I kinda felt like I finally belonged to that yummy weirdness. It was insane, obviously people were shook – I think that’s what makes it fun about it all though, they’re costumes. You can do so much with it.”

Claudia Sangiorgi Dalimore (director):

“When Em and I first connected, a lot of the broader conversation was really about the big picture of Em’s vision for embarking on this next chapter of her life: unveiling more authentic parts of herself and coming in loud and proud. She said to me ‘Sis, I’m a little bit weird” and with great excitement I quickly interjected, “Brilliant, we can be weird together”.

I knew the general brush strokes of the ‘Magic Woman Dancing’ visual needed to introduce the world to Em’s love of mythology, fantasy, creatures, the underworld and everything in between. We had to create something that felt bold, like a statement that ‘Emily is back and she is coming in swords blazing’. A true departure from the limited ways she’s been seen before. 

To dream up the loose narrative for the video I took Em’s true to life story of this being a rebirth of her artistry back into the public eye. Each scene was crafted from me putting visuals to a line of poem she had sent me somewhere in amongst the many emails and mood boards. Somewhat of a hero’s journey, a coming-of-age story or rite of passage. Something dying to be reborn again. 

Filming in Lutruwita was magic. The land played as big a character as all the others on screen. Em’s family and community featured both behind and in front of camera. For me this was an intentionally holistic approach to making the video. I wanted to give Em a very meaningful experience and safe space for us to just play and have fun. 

And boy did we do that; so many belly laughs. I still giggle at the moment as I remember myself holding back a deep cackle during a take. We were mid-sunset in the most stunning valley, Em’ horns poking out her face charging towards Gabe (Comerford), dressed in a gorgeous sequin dress ready to slay him, thinking to myself….’whose idea was this again?!’. The joys of being weird and wonderful together!” 

Kaydee Kyle-Taylor (MUA):

“Being able to work so closely with my fellow Aquarian sista was an absolute honour. Em really pushed the boundaries when it came to the creative storyline for ‘Magic Woman Dancing’. I have said it before and will say it again, she inspires not only myself but those around and more specifically within the music industry to always think + create outside of the box.

When Em approached me to come onboard for the video, she allowed the creative freedom I was wanting. To explore the fantasy/mythical creatures aspect was something that aligned with my personal line of having a background in visual artistry, I am forever grateful that Em trusted me with helping bring her artwork to life.

I was informed there was a ‘few basic’ prosthetics, which that’s all fine, I am trained in that field but I wouldn’t say it’s my speciality. So I enjoyed the initial challenge and the extremeness of the creative level Em was envisioning. Fast forward to set, there were a lot of crazy amazing different prosthetics, and I just had my wisdom teeth removed so it was all a very laughable challenge in the end, but something I will always remember – I love doing things that are within my creative field but isn’t something I get to explore often or at all. You could say “I was a little bit salty” for a sec, but I would happily do it again!”

Emily Wurramara will be playing a one-off Gadigal Country headline gig @ Waywards on Apr 5.

You can get tickets here.

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