Freedom West Papua
“My West Papuan brothers and sisters are close to my heart. West Papua is our closest neighbour and the world turns a blind eye to the genocide. The Freedom Flotilla in 2013 inspired me to write this song. An idea brought about by the meeting of the newly-arrived West Papuan exile Jacob Rumbiak and Aboriginal elder “Uncle” Kevin Buzzacott. Buzzacott saw the connection as deeper than shared victimhood. He traced their ancient historical and cultural relationship back to prehistoric times with its common past and ancestry. The Freedom Flotilla went from Lake Eyre in Australia’s arid heart to Cairns and then by boat to West Papua. Carrying water from this spring near Lake Eyre and ashes from the Tent Embassy fireplace, the quest came to symbolise a re-connection of these two ancient peoples and a uniting in the struggle for sovereignty.”
Perhaps it is in the words of Joe Geia’s bicentennial lament ‘Yil Lull’ (1988) that we can find the quintessential mix of grief and hope, acknowledgement of the past and optimism for the future, that has characterised Indigenous popular music in recent decades; ‘I sing for the red and the blood that was shed… and I’m singing for the gold and the new year, young and old… now I’m singing just for you…’
— Sian Prior Music in Melbourne – Celebration and Survival [11.02.2011]
Working on the mural in Redfern 1983
Redfern was a great place to be in 1983! Radio Redfern was happening led by Tiga Bayles and his mother, the indomitable Maureen Waston.
I was playing in a great reggae band called Nya Nunga sharing the stage with Keith Brady and Ron Jemmot (Rasta Ron). We used to get a huge crowd at the Gaelic Club every week. The days were busy working on the mural with Carol Ruff who was head of the mural project.