Feature Story

Music to Celebrate NAIDOC Week

NAIDOC Week is a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture here in Australia. It is a week full of events celebrating the positive impact Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had on history and culture. It is also a time for non-Indigenous people to learn about Indigenous culture / history and see how they can become allies and support Indigenous people in the continued fight for rights and support. This year’s theme is “Stand Up, Show Up!” The theme puts a focus on fighting for rights and equality and that people’s voices need to be heard. For white people like me, it is a time to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices, but not speak for people. For Jukebox, the best way to do that is through marching, music and donating money to organisations. So, here is some music to listen to for NAIDOC week and at the end of the post I will have some organisations you can donate your hard earned towards.

A.B. Original: 2 Black 2 Strong

This is the hip hop power duo of Briggs and Trials, who are both two proud Aboriginal men on Briggs’ Indigenous led Bad Apple record label. A fire track tacking racism in Australia, racist government policies, police brutality and inequalities in society. Moreover, it is about being proud to be black and Briggs and Trials rapping about how great they are at rapping…which is a classic hip hop theme I’m in love with.

Barkaa: King Brown

Off of the Blak Matriarchy record, Barkaa takes on the intersection of race and gender. She raps about governmental policies that took Aboriginal children from their mothers during the White Australia Policy days and how the government stole Aboriginal land. She not only takes on these high level structural issues, but brings it to t personal level of what it is like to be a proud Aboriginal woman within a society dominated by white men. A talented artist in the vain of Missy Elliott who has a big future ahead of her.

Kev Carmody: On the Wire

Kev is an Australian treasure who I had the amazing honour to see in concert last year. It was a show of roughly 1,000 people with Kev telling stories and playing folk activist songs that document Indigenous history. The track is a mix of Aboriginal creation stories, connection to land and the fight for equality within a white power structure. It is a beautiful song that tells the story of an Indigenous man trying to navigate a modern white system, while staying true to his cultural roots in the land. Kev is an incredible artist who has kept traditional Indigenous culture alive, while also driving for change.

Baker Boy: Meditjin

Baker Boy is a proud Arnhem Land man who raps about race, culture and the healing power of music. This track is mainly about the healing power of music, dance and stories. However, Baker Boy often raps in both English and his language from Arnhem Land. In a genre largely dominated by western English based bars it is a political statement in itself to spit bars in his Indigenous language. It is a mark of pride in his cultural identify and it forces the listener to value his culture as well. Plus…it is a great track to dance to.

Alice Skye: Grand Ideas

Bad Apples Records has branched out from primarily a hip hop label to a genre diverse Indigenous label. One big move was getting up and coming Indigenous singer/songwriter indie artist Alice Skye on the label. Her track Grand Ideas has the classic indie theme of showcasing the mundane as she sings about being around the house, but Skye weaves in issues of race and gender in nuanced ways. Skye has a wonderful voice and I am looking forward to hear more form her.

Troy Cassar Daley and Briggs: Shadows

Troy Cassar Daley is an iconic Indigenous country singer who often sings about the land and about existing within society. Moreover, Daley is my favourite country artist and a legend…I met him once at the Australian version of the state fair (The Ekka) looking at pick-ups (utes)…legend. Briggs brings him in to do a classic 90s hip hop move with Briggs doing the verses and Daley giving a traditional country chorus. Both speak about Aboriginal people being murdered during colonisation and the scars to Australia left by that genocide. The shadows of that genocide hang over the land and will not leave until white Australia comes to grips with that bloody history. An emotional song by two of Australia’s best artists.

Archie Roach: Took the Children Away

This iconic track by Archie Roach outlines the impact of the Stolen Generation on Indigenous people. For those not in Australia, the Stolen Generation was a generation of Aboriginal children who were taken from home and displaced as the government tried to assimilate them into white society and wipe out Aboriginal culture. That displacement took people from their land and some families are still tracing back their original land connections. Roach sings about the impact of that policy on families and on the children stolen. THis is a must hear for anyone who wants to deepen their knowledge of Indigenous history.

Blue King Brown: Water

Blue King Brown is a huge ensemble band with members from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage. They have a bit of a rasta flair with lyrics talking about the ills of capitalism and racial injustice. Water is a song about activism and speaking out against white men stealing Aboriginal land and using it for mining or other capitalist means. A great band with a strong activist message.

I hope you enjoy the music and learn some stuff. Here are some sites to visit and donate some money to:

NAIDOC Week Information

Kurbingui Indigenous Youth and Family Service

Kambu Indigenous Health

Clothing the Gap

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Alliance

NPY Women’s Council

1 comment on “Music to Celebrate NAIDOC Week

  1. Always was. Always will be

    Like

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