Kaiit, Birdz, Fred Leone join powerhouse BLAKTIVISM lineup

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Kaiit, Birdz, Fred Leone join powerhouse BLAKTIVISM lineup

Kaiit Photo credit: Jade D’amico
Words by Staff Writer

Kaiit, Birdz & Fred Leone will join the powerhouse line up of First Nations artists coming together for BLAKTIVISM.

BLAKTIVISM – a powerful one-night only special event celebrating Blak Cultures and Blak Artivism at Arts Centre Melbourne’s Hamer Hall on Friday 1 December as part of ALWAYS LIVE.

Together they stand with previously announced artists King Stingray, Tasman Keith, Bart Willoughby, Emma Donovan, Deline Briscoe, Suga Cane Mamas and Sorong Samarai.Now in its third year BLAKTIVISM 2023 explores Skylore, the Lore that connects all First Nations cultures across the country through stories in the sky; following the journey from the rise of the Evening Star in the Kulin Nations to the rise of the Morning Star in West Papua.

BLAKTIVISM at Hamer Hall | Friday 1 December

  • 7:00pm Doors
  • 7:30pm BLAKTIVISM (including Welcome to Country and Mundanai)
  • 8:30pm Interval
  • 8:50pm King Stingray
  • 10:00pm Finish

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The creative artistry of Papua New Guinea born, Naarm based musician Kaiit is sustained by a deep spiritual connection with her ancestors. The Aria award-winning artist’s old soul vocals over contemporary rhymes, paint a vibrant picture of gratitude and community, amidst honest and relatable storytelling.

Kaiit’s soulful, shimmery feel-good vibes have seen her become a popular figure on the Australian music landscape with multiple sold out national tours, Splendour in the Grass and Laneway Festival performances, and supporting international heavyweights SZA and The Internet.

Cousins by family but brothers in music, Birdz & Fred Leone are descendents of the Butchulla nation. Together they bring traditional Songlines to contemporary audiences as they bend the genres of Hip Hop and traditional music, singing in both Butchulla and English.

Birdz is renowned for his unique brand of hard-hitting Hip Hop, embodying strong messages of hope and self-determination whilst Fred Leone’s powerhouse vocals and adeptness at playing traditional instruments to create an utterly new and unique sound are celebrated. As a Butchulla Songman, Fred is committed to ensuring contemporary Butchulla stories are embedded into the collective memory of the tribes oral histories and ceremonies going forward.

Curated by Gaba Musik’s Artistic Director Deline Briscoe, BLAKTIVISM 2023 will open with Mundanai: a ceremonial opening and an invitation for the many multicultural communities to heal together, led by Songwomen from each of the Kulin Nations – Dr Lou Bennett (Dja Dja Wurrung), Mandy Nicholson (Wurundjeri), Isobel Paipadjerook (Taungarrung), Renee Sweetman (Bunwurrung) and Corrina Eccles (Wadawarrung) – as they share the spirit of healing through the power of culture and the richness of ceremonial song.

The evening will also feature a commanding BLAKTIVISM set featuring Bart Willoughby, Deline Briscoe, Emma Donovan, Suga Cane Mamas, Sorong Samarai and Tasman Keith.
BLAKTIVISM burst onto Arts Centre Melbourne’s stage as part of Live at the Bowl in 2021, in response to the global dialogue around the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 and Australia’s response to Indigenous sovereignty.