Musicians on a mission

RACHEL CURRY,Busselton Dunsborough Times

Some of Australia’s most celebrated indigenous artists and talented non-indigenous blues, folk and alt-country aficionados will share the stage in Dunsborough this weekend.

Clancy’s Fish Pub is hosting the Murru concert on Sunday as part of NAIDOC Week.

The Murru initiative was started last year to mark 30 years since 16-year-old indigenous boy John Pat died in police custody in the Pilbara town of Roebourne.

Artists including Grammy Award-winning pedal steel guitarist Lucky Oceans, prominent actor/musician Trevor Jamieson and NSW singer-songwriter Emma Donovan are aiming to bring attention to the high rates of incarceration of indigenous young people.

The artists worked with Roebourne prisoners and community members to create a collection of songs in memory of John.

Margaret River musician and project assistant Qynn Beardman said it was a great opportunity for local people to see the band, who will also open the Melbourne Festival at Federation Square.

“At the end of the day it’s bloody good music — it’s got a strong message but it’s good music at heart, ” he said.

“If I had to describe it, it would be alt-country pop with elements of jazz and funk. And even though it’s written in prisons, it’s uplifting.”

Beardman said it was shocking that every second young person in juvenile detention in Australia was indigenous. He said the artists and organisers wanted to “shine a light” on the issue without forcing it down people’s throats.

“We want to do it through art and music so it’s not some politician whining at everybody — it’s musicians getting up there and smiling, ” he said.

“Art is a really good way to get people talking about things without getting their back up.”

The Murru concert is part of Big hART’s One in Two campaign. Entry is free.

Get the latest news from in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails