Naomi Wenitong, Emily Wurramara, BARKAA and more lead BLAKSOUND, the new 100% First Nations music conference
13.08.2021

Naomi Wenitong, Emily Wurramara, BARKAA and more lead BLAKSOUND, the new 100% First Nations music conference

Barkaa by Luke Currie-Richardson
Words by Matthew Parnell

BLAKSOUND is an opportunity for First Nations youth to talk back and challenge the music industry at large.

First Nations music has never been more front-facing than in 2021 and with the country still reeling from COVID closures, BLAKSOUND has unveiled its inaugural lineup featuring renowned artist and keynote speaker Naomi Wenitong alongside fellow speakers Emily Wurramara, rising rapper BARKAA, Bianca Hunt, songwriter, hip hop artist and producer DRMNGNOW and radio and podcast personality Rhianna Patrick.

What you need to know

  • BLAKSOUND is so-called Australia’s dedicated Indigenous music conference led by youth, and broadcasting globally online from Meeanjin
  • The lineup will be co-curated by First Nations musicians Sycco, Jem Cassar-Daley, DOBBY and Loki Liddle, supported and mentored by Alethea Beetson of Digi Youth Arts
  • Tthe virtual event is set to take place between September 6-8

Keep up with all the festival news, reviews and interviews here.

BLAKSOUND is Australia’s brand new, dedicated Indigenous music conference that will be broadcasting globally online from Meeanjin and will celebrate the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural and arts leaders. Presented by Digi Youth Arts and Vyva Entertainment and supported by QMusic and BIGSOUND, the virtual conference will take place from September 6-8 with young First Nations musicians Sycco, Jem Cassar-Daley, DOBBY and Loki Liddle co-curating the conference, supported and mentored by Alethea Beetson, Lead Artistic Director of Digi Youth Arts.

Several nationally recognised organisations will be running workshops on making the most out of their platforms, with Jack Harrison addressing best navigating Spotify in addition to Karla Ranby and Nooky hosting a networking event on behalf of Triple J, Jinaya Watford discussing distribution and playlisting with Ditto Music. These are designed to elevate, celebrate and represent the voices and perspectives of current and future First Nations artists and industry workers.

“BLAKSOUND provides a sovereign platform for conversations that need to be heard by the wider music community,” says Alethea Beetson. “Digi Youth Arts invites the music industry to listen to our community, and then respond or where required step aside so we can continue the work of carrying on our stories through song.”

Through thought-provoking panel discussions and hands-on workshops, BLAKSOUND invites the music industry to listen and explore how the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural and arts leaders can be placed at the forefront of industry conversations.

It is free to register for BLAKSOUND, and the event will be broadcast through the Swapcard platform on Monday 6 September, Tuesday 7 September and Wednesday 8 September with panels and keynotes targeting the wider music industry in the mornings and workshops for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in the afternoons.

You can register here.