Bulunu Milkarri


The Bulunu songline belongs to the Djambarrpuyŋu clan of the Yolŋu Nation of north east Arnhem Land. Bulunu is the south east cloud formations that bring the rains that replenish the land and provide the time of abundance in food from the land and the sea. Milkarri is the women‘s crying songs that are used in funerals to sing the spirits back to their ancestral homelands. The Bulunu Milkarri reminds people that as well as appreciation for Bulunu replenishing the land, it is also about replenishing the spirit within and remembering loved ones passed.

This songline is not being sufficiently being passed on to younger women; only a small handful of elderly women hold this knowledge. Filmed on location in Ban’thula homeland and in Darwin, the film follows Director, Sylvia Nulpinditj, on the quest for her and her sisters to learn to sing Bulunu Milkarri and to creatively portray the concepts of this deep and rich bed of interlinking cycles of death, life and everything in between that are represented in Bulunu Milkarri.


Bulunu Milkarri is a women's songline of the Djambarrpuyŋu Clan Nation of north east Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, Australia. The Bulunu Milkarri songline connects a number of different Djambarrpuyŋu clan groups under the one law, as well as connecting their ancestral homelands off the coast of north east Arnhem Land.

This Bulunu Milkarri law is owned by the Djambarrpuyŋu Clan nation and is sung by Djambarrpuyŋu Yothu Yindi women.

The custodians of the Bulunu Milkarri songline are the leaders of the Djambarrpuyŋu Clan Nation and are based in the communities of Galiwinku, Ramingining, Milingimbi, Gapuwiyak, Yirrkala and homelands such as Ban'thula on Elcho Island where the main film shoot took place.


Margaret Marrnyula Dhamarrandji
Valerie Maramangunhawuy
Release dates
9 June 2015 : Sydney Film Festival - world premiere

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Cite this page

Korff, J 2020, Bulunu Milkarri, <>, retrieved 25 May 2024

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