“This show should be at the Opera House” “All Australians need to see this show”
Joe Geia’s contribution to the arts is highly significant and enduring. As the writer of iconic songs such as Yil Lull and Uncle Willie he remains an active recording and performing artist sharing his Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture through music. The six-piece Joe Geia Band takes the audience on a journey across Australia (and time) through Geia’s iconic songs and storytelling. The background visual clips to each song include footage of Leaders and Legends in the struggle of First Nations peoples for justice and equality, Land Rights demonstrations as well as Geia’s artworks.
Joe Geia’s 40 – year career and songs are intrinsically linked to the stories and leaders celebrated in his show such as Kwanji – written for his mentor, activist and Land Rights leader, Uncle Don Brady. The show also features an unearthed song written by his father, Albie Geia, one of seven leaders in the Palm Island strike of 1957 – protesting for wages instead of being paid in rations of sugar, flour and tea. There is a monument in the centre of Palm Island that pays homage to these seven men, known as the Magnificent Seven. Geia’s song Uncle Willie, is a song for Uncle Willie Thaiday, also one of the leaders of the Palm Island ’57 strike. He went on to write a book about these hard times called “Protected: Under The Act”.
From Rations to Wages to Treaty is a show for all ages The importance of this show is threefold: To provide Elders and community members an avenue to reminisce, to reflect on their own lives and achievements despite adversity; to educate young people and children in Indigenous history and the resilience, strength, survival and resistance of Ancestors; and to enable non-Indigenous people an enhanced understanding of historical contexts.
Through his songs, Geia tells the stories of strong Elders and leaders who fought to ensure justice for Indigenous peoples. This show is a tribute to them so that they are remembered for their part in the struggle for justice. It is a journey through Blak history through Blak music, engaging, educational and thought provoking. At a time where the Uluru Statement of the Heart is forefront in Australian minds, this is the time for transformational change. For Geia, it is also a celebration of 40 years in the music industry as an Indigenous activist songwriter and performer. He is often described as a pioneer of Indigenous contemporary music.
“This is the time for truth telling”
The objective of this show, in the tour of Queens;and in 2023 was to enhance deeper understandings of Indigenous history, and the activist efforts that recognises the resilience and resistance of Indigenous peoples, particularly in the 1970s onwards. This is particularly important in this current age of truth-telling and Treaty making
We toured to Cairns at the Tanks, Palm Island, Redland Performing Arts Centre and the Horizon Festival on the Sunshine Coast. The positive response the show had everywhere can be found on this website at https://joegeia.com.au/welcome/rations-to-wages-to-treaty/audiences-loved-the-show/
We are grateful to the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland for funding that enabled us to take the show to these venues far and wide.
The Joe Geia Band has worked hard to present this show and bring about the unknown (to many) the history tolf throughout the show. Thank you over and over to my band, Ruth Ross Pe’er, Violinist and BVs; Graham Moes, Lead guitar and BVs; Michael Sunjay Jude, Keybooard & BVs; Phill McKenna, Bass & BVs; Avau Fanene, Drummer & BVs and our integral part of the band, sound engineer, Marcello Milani.. And thank you to my wife Lyn for tour management and creating the visual backdrop to each song.