Despite being over 30 years old, The Ulpanyali Band self-titled album continues to be a favourite for many people and due to popular demand, CAAMA has re-released the album in August 2022. We are very excited to reignite the Ulpanyali flame and it has been great catching up with lead singer Brian Clyne and finding out more about his struggles, journey and victory in learning to live and help others with mental illness through music. If you would like to know more about Brian’s life and his journey, read on.
THE HEALING POWER OF MUSIC FOR MENTAL WELL BEING
Brian’s childhood was full of adventure and culture. After spending his early years at Amoonguna and beginning his singing career with the iconic Izac Yamma, Brian moved back with his family to Wurrtarrka where they developed a tourism business, that involved taking tourists from all over the world on guided walks, cooking traditional food with them, teaching them to make and throw spears and boomerangs, and hosting them for camping adventures. Brian says what he enjoyed most from this time is meeting people from all around the world and learning about all the different cultures and exploring the similarities and differences with his own culture. Brian also formed the Ulpanyali Band with Izac’s son, Frank Yamma during this time.
Brian was first diagnosed with Schizophrenia when he was 19. He describes this as like having demons and pressure in his head, being trapped in his head, being very confused. He says he had very supportive parents and wife, who all treated him as normal when others didn’t. He now knows from work with MAHCA that there are all kinds of normal and people can live and still have a good life with mental illness. Brian’s own challenges lead him to become an advocate for other people with mental health illnesses. He says that is only by slowly talking about things and sharing what he was feeling with counselors that he felt the pressure began to be relieved and released in his head. Brian says there are not enough counsellors available to support the many people with mental illness who need support. He says he wants to spend the rest of his life helping people with mental illness because he knows how hard it is, but he also knows the way to get through it and come out the other side still alive, so he wants to help others to see that they can too. Brian’s most recent music reflects this selfless desire. His latest song, ‘Better Way’ is about suicide and mental illness and telling people that they can make it through the night with help and support. Brian does a lot of work with MAHCA, which has included being involved in running music workshops, because both MAHCA and Brian view music as being very good for mental health and well-being, giving people a chance to express themselves and the way they feel and get lost in the music instead of lost inside their head. Brian says music has been very important in helping him through his struggles with mental illness and coming out the other side.
If you would like to listen to some of Brian’s solo songs which talk about living with mental illness, click on this link https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsPSwM755kVeZkP8vYA5X8A
If you would like to watch Brian talking more about his life in a recent interview, you can watch it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqvGpvxnU8Mm/
Brian is a bit famous in Central Australia. There are stories all over the web about the important work he does in trying to advocate for people living with mental illness and let them know they are not alone. If you would like to watch some of these stories, click on this link https://mhaca.org.au/the-positive-influences-of-music-on-mental-health/: and https://www.facebook.com/MentalHealthAssociationCentralAustralia/videos/kututu-wattle-seeds-positive-influences-of-music-on-mental-health/335756387766855/