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Cerisa Yarns About The Need To Support Sammy Butcher


Sammy is a Pitjantjatjara–Warlpiri musician and Elder in his community of Papunya in the Northern Territory. He has suffered four strokes – two in the past year – which has caused him issues with mobility. Support Act, through their Help a Mate service, is now attempting to raise $30,000 for Butcher in order for him to purchase a car. Cerisa Benjamin is the FIRST NATIONS COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT / SOCIAL WORKER. Cerisa is a proud Walpiri, Gurindji and Jawoyn woman, born and raised in Katherine NT as we welcome Cerisa back to 3KND to yarn about the need to support Sammy.

Music industry charity Support Act have announced a fundraising initiative to assist founding Warumpi Band member Sammy Butcher, who played bass and guitar in the group from their formation in 1980 up until their dissolution in 2000. “Sammy is heavily relied upon and needs to be able to get to places such a sorry business, Alice Springs (which is three hours from Papunya), the homes of family members who need his support, and most importantly he needs to get to his hospital visits for regular check-ups around his stroke,” Support Act explain on its fundraising page for Sammy.

“Right now, Sammy is unable to do any of the above as he has no car and is very limited in his mobility. A few weeks ago Sammy was struggling to get out to bush for sorry business and being the Elder of the community his presence is highly important. “Sammy also supports his children and grandchildren and, on many occasions, needs to get supplies from Alice Springs, back out to Papunya.”

It goes on to say that Butcher’s mobility issues have begun to affect his mental health, and that he’s in “desperate need” of a vehicle in order to travel where he needs to. “Getting Sammy a car will help him get to his appointments, help him get around the community and help his mental health improvement by being more independent.” Support Act’s Help A Mate service provides an opportunity for friends, family and/or work colleagues to raise money for an artist, roadie or music worker who is in need or suffering hardship or distress. All donations over $2 are tax deductible.

Singer-songwriter Emma Donovan has voiced her support for the campaign on Instagram. “What Sammy has bought to his community but the rest of the Nation and internationally has been a huge contribution inspiring up all,” she wrote. “Sammy needs our help.” Last year, Warumpi Band released ‘Warumpi Rock: Papunya Sessions 1982’ through Love Police. The unabridged collection contains some of the band’s earliest known recordings, captured live during a jam session in 1982 – two years after their formation, and a year before breakout single ‘Jailanguru Pakarnu’. Story By Alex Gallagher


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