Starry skies and soulful sounds: BLAKTIVISM 2023 unites First Nations music maestros

By Our Reporter
Kaiit // Photo credit: Jade D’amico // Pic supplied

As December ushers in its summer charm in Melbourne, Hamer Hall prepares to echo with a blend of age-old traditions and contemporary sounds. Kaiit, Birdz, and Fred Leone are set to grace the stage at BLAKTIVISM 2023. This exceptional event, taking place on 1 December, transcends the usual concert format to celebrate Blak Cultures and Blak Artivism, marking a significant chapter in the ALWAYS LIVE festival.

The trio stands alongside a constellation of First Nations artists, including King Stingray, Tasman Keith, and Emma Donovan, showcasing a kaleidoscope of musical genres and cultural narratives. BLAKTIVISM, now in its third year, continues to be a beacon of cultural expression, this year under the theme ‘Skylore.’ This theme weaves a tapestry of stories across the night sky, tracing lore and legends from the Kulin Nations to West Papua, symbolising the unifying spirit of First Nations cultures.

Kaiit, born in Papua New Guinea and now making waves in Naarm (Melbourne), brings her soulful melodies and heartfelt lyrics to the stage. Her music, a unique blend of old soul vocals and contemporary rhymes, radiates gratitude and community. With several sold-out national tours and notable festival performances to her credit, Kaiit’s musical journey is a testament to her deep spiritual connection with her ancestors and the community.

The synergy of Birdz and Fred Leone, cousins by blood and brothers in music, adds another layer to this musical soirée. Hailing from the Butchulla nation, their fusion of Hip Hop and traditional music creates a compelling narrative. Birdz’s hard-hitting lyrics and Fred’s powerful vocals, combined with his skill in playing traditional instruments, ensure their performance will be more than just a musical act—it will be a storytelling session, resonating with contemporary tales rooted in Butchulla history.

The event is curated by Gaba Musik’s Artistic Director, Deline Briscoe, and will commence with ‘Mundanai,’ a ceremonial opening. This segment is more than just a start to an evening; it’s an invitation to multicultural communities for collective healing. Songwomen from the Kulin Nations will lead this segment, sharing their cultural heritage and the richness of ceremonial song.

BLAKTIVISM is a response to the global Black Lives Matter movement and Australia’s dialogue on Indigenous sovereignty. Its inception at Arts Centre Melbourne’s Live at the Bowl in 2021 marked a significant moment in the cultural landscape of Australia. This year’s event promises to be an immersive experience, combining powerful performances and the spirit of togetherness. The evening will culminate in a BLAKTIVISM set featuring some of the most dynamic names in First Nations music.

As part of ALWAYS LIVE, a 17-day state-wide celebration of live music, BLAKTIVISM 2023 is more than a concert. It’s a symbol of resilience, a platform for storytelling, and a celebration of the rich cultural fabric of First Nations communities. With the support of the Victoria Government and Visit Victoria, this event is set to be a memorable night, echoing the voices and tales of the oldest continuous cultures in the world.

Support independent community journalism. Support The Indian Sun.

Follow The Indian Sun on Twitter | InstagramFacebook


Donate To The Indian Sun

Dear Reader,

The Indian Sun is an independent organisation committed to community journalism. We have, through the years, been able to reach a wide audience especially with the growth of social media, where we also have a strong presence. With platforms such as YouTube videos, we have been able to engage in different forms of storytelling. However, the past few years, like many media organisations around the world, it has not been an easy path. We have a greater challenge. We believe community journalism is very important for a multicultural country like Australia. We’re not able to do everything, but we aim for some of the most interesting stories and journalism of quality. We call upon readers like you to support us and make any contribution. Do make a DONATION NOW so we can continue with the volume and quality journalism that we are able to practice.

Thank you for your support.

Best wishes,
Team The Indian Sun