King Stingray spearheads musical revolution at BLAKTIVISM concert

By Our Reporter

Melbourne’s Arts Centre is set to pulsate with the rhythms of indigenous artistry on 1 December. BLAKTIVISM 2023, an emblematic event part of the ALWAYS LIVE festival, heralds the convergence of musical giants with the revered Yolŋu rock band King Stingray headlining the illustrious line-up. This concert not only showcases the rich tapestry of First Nations music but also epitomises a collective call for change and recognition.

BLAKTIVISM, a platform birthed from the heart of Australia’s cultural and socio-political dialogue, notably in response to the Black Lives Matter movement and the ongoing conversation around Indigenous sovereignty, has rapidly evolved into a vital space for Blak Cultures and Blak Artivism. This year, under the artistic direction of Deline Briscoe, it dives into ‘Skylore’, exploring stories woven in the stars that bind First Nations cultures across Australia.

King Stingray, hailing from Northeast Arnhem Land, are more than just a musical act. They are the storytellers of an ancient lineage, their songs a blend of traditional Yolŋu Matha and contemporary surf-rock. Their performance is not merely a setlist; it’s an odyssey through time, narrating the lore and spirit of their ancestors.

The event promises an unprecedented level of collaboration among a diverse array of artists, including Tasman Keith, Bart Willoughby, and Emma Donovan, among others. These artists collectively form a resonant chorus, a unified voice that transcends generational and geographical divides.

A special highlight of the evening will be Mundanai, a ceremonial opening symbolising an embrace. This segment, led by songwomen from various clan groups of the Kulin Nations, sets the stage for a journey of healing and cultural celebration. It exemplifies the power of music and ceremony in bridging communities and fostering understanding.

BLAKTIVISM goes beyond being a mere concert; it’s a canvas where stories of resilience, hope, and identity are painted in bold strokes. The diverse range of Aboriginal peoples and their unique spiritualities, beliefs, and Lore are brought to the forefront, offering audiences an opportunity to engage with these cultures at a profound level.

The timing of BLAKTIVISM coincides with the broader celebration of ALWAYS LIVE, a 17-day extravaganza of live music across Victoria. This festival is a testament to Victoria’s status as the live music capital, encompassing everything from stadium shows to intimate performances and family events.

In an era where cultural conversations are more crucial than ever, BLAKTIVISM serves as a beacon, shining light on the stories, struggles, and artistry of First Nations people. It’s an invitation to stand together, to celebrate, and to acknowledge the rich cultural heritage that forms the bedrock of Australian society.

As the final notes of King Stingray’s performance fade on 1 December, the impact of BLAKTIVISM will undoubtedly resonate far beyond the walls of Hamer Hall. It is a reminder of the transformative power of music and the enduring spirit of a people connected by stories, songs, and a relentless pursuit of recognition and justice.

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