Klub Koori

Nicki Alchin
17th Jul 2016

If only NAIDOC Week WAS every week like Australian hip hop icon Izzy lamented to me as we chatted about the evening of Indigenous song-lines we had just experienced.

On Thursday July 7th, Sydney Scoop attended a special NAIDOC Week live to air show of Klub Koori on Koori Radio 93.7 FM at Carriageworks. After reading up on the event, we were prepped for a showcase of Indigenous hip hop from established and emerging artists. What we witnessed was much more than that.

Right off the bat it was a night that gave us whitefellas a glimpse into the Aboriginal and Torres Island community. Starting off with a truly personal welcome to country from a local Elder woman, decks being spun by DJ Maniak and then a handover to the hosts of the evening, two legends of Aussie hip hop, Izzy and Munkimunk (the grandfather of Indigenous hip hop - inducted into the National Indigenous Music Awards Hall Of Fame in 2014) who made sure the show rolled along for the live audience and listeners at home. After some banter between Izzy and Munkimuk we were introduced to the Young, Black and Deadly (YBD) artists.

This YBD artists turned out to be a contingent of Indigenous performers of varying ages and music genres. They had had all been chosen to be recorded on the YBD compilation. The project had been made possible with a NAIDOC Week grant. The compilation album is available for purchase on iTunes. We were told that the opportunity to lay down a track for public consumption was jumped at by all who participated.

In putting together the album, the group worked with Leah Flanagan, Mark Ross, and Danielle Russo to learn how to write their own music, produce and record their tracks. The performers come from all over NSW including the Central Coast, Western Sydney, and the Blue Mountains. The one feature that stood out for each artist was talent and a passion to perform.

The youngest singer in the group was tiny Taia from Penrith who sang a country styled campfire sing-a-long song. The crowd reaction was great, clapping along without the need for any direction to do so. One of the stand outs for me was Maddison Lyn Collier, a 17 year old from Western Sydney. We saw via a video clip Maddison singing a beautiful romantic country music ballad with her big smooth voice full of emotion. Maddison's talent is very noticeable; she would have no problem breaking into the country music scene. The other stand out was 16 year old Sebastian with his confident bold deep melodious vocals. He performed a witty yet touching song called 'Home' that he wrote to explain his hectic home life and how much in spite of it all, he loved it.

After the YBD section of the night, we got down to seeing some Indigenous hip hop artists, both young and old. Munkimuk started off with his hip hop antics with hilarious topical lyrics pertaining to the local scene and urban identities like Tommy Raudonikis (famous for his NRL football association with Wests). We were in stitches of laughter and in good spirits ready for the younger guns of indigenous hip hop to do their thing.

First up we had Tasman Keith from Bowraville, a country town inland from Nambucca Heads in Northern NSW. He mixes samples and raps to talk about the issues hitting him as a young Indigenous guy. He is listed on Triple J Unearthed and has been on the scene for a while. He is a second generation rapper, he is the youngest son of seminal Australian hip hop pioneer Wire MC.

We then heard from Izzy with his impressive impromptu free wheeling rap for us that energised the live audience. Lots of crowd participation was evident.

We were also treated to MC Nooky from Nowra who showed us he can mix up the rap and samples to pull us in to his groove. His final song of his set about country roads and dreams was my favourite. Apparently it is an older song of his, but for me it showed Nooky's heart. He really owned the stage while performing it.

As another nod to the past, three female rappers including well known rapper Danielle, came to the stage with a great intro from Munkimuk of how they came to him as teenagers 20 years ago with a burning passion to rap. They gave a rousing performance of a 20 years old song that had not dated in terms of speaking out about issues affecting Indigenous Australians.

Up next came Lady Lash with DJ Maniak. Lady Lash is from Ceduna in South Australia and cites her influences as including Nina Simone, BB King and Billy Holiday. Her genre is a mix of hip hop, jazz, soul/funk. There's lots of sampling done by DJ Maniak to complement Lady Lash's raps and singing. Very noticeable for me was the gentleness to Lady Lash's approach to rap but I guess you would expect this given her jazz soul/funk influences. The music is very accessible and very different to what we had heard from Tasman Keith and Nooky.

Overall, the night was successful. New and established Indigenous artists had the chance to perform to a large audience live and also be simultaneously broadcast on the airwaves via Koori Radio. It was a great NAIDOC Week initiative. Hopefully you can continue the spirit by accessing the YBD album on iTunes and listening in to Koori Radio to keep up to date with Indigenous Australian music of all genres.