La Danza Poetica #38 Melbourne: Common Ground

For the Wurundjeri, Taungurung, Wadawurrung, Boon Wurrung and Dja Dja Wurrung peoples that make up the Kulin Nation in the South East of Australia, Melbourne has always been an important meeting place. And it continues to be a place of connection for people from all around the world. This month Multicultural Arts Victoria released four compilation albums that prove the power of communion between diverse cultures, collaboration between musicians and poets from indigenous, refugee and immigrant backgrounds. Stepping onto the common ground that is the special power of this meeting place, this city, and through telling and hearing stories, we make a more compassionate world. Two other artists working for this beautiful future through storytelling and the sharing of cultures are Gurrumul, and Zulya and the Children of the Underground.


Neil Morris – Welcome to Country
The Black Orchid Stringband – Akai Bipamare
Tjupurru ft. Efiq Zulfiquar – Intro
Tjupurru ft. Efiq Zulfiquar & Abdul Hammoud – Carpel Tunnel
Oisima ft. Noriko Tadano & Ria Soemardjo – Indios
Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu – Baptism
Lem Lem Band – Bechashen
poem – Tanvi Mor
Senegambian Jazz Band – Holko Fumo Tork
Nhatty Man & The Lalibelas – Andneger
poem – Sanjay Bhandari
Frederick Mutswagiwa (Francois) & Kasia Kasprzak (Kaa´s) – Here We Are
Tjupurru ft. Efiq Zulfiquar & Ebony Moncrief – Hopelessness
poem – Zakia Baig
Zulya and the Children of the Underground – Mise-en-scène
Zulya and the Children of the Underground – Alma’s Song
poem – Katherine Gailer
Reza Fazeli – Dilbare

Notes on the show

Multicultural Arts Victoria is an important body here in Melbourne, Australia for the discovery, development and promotion of culturally and linguistically diverse art, heritage and cultural expression. They have a number of programs in which they bring together artists from the many different cultures that make up this region, from refugee and immigrant backgrounds as well as indigenous backgrounds, and link them with producers to release tracks and stage performances. This month MAV released four albums, featuring musicians and poets from diverse cultural backgrounds working together:

Common Ground is an inter-faith spoken word program of workshops and performances, exploring the role faith and identity play in our everyday. Spoken word from various young poets and community workers, produced by So.Crates (Cazeaux O.S.L.O and Skomes).

The Producer’s Lounge is a music mentoring project for young emerging producers, guided by Mohamed Komba, aka Momo, Diafrix. Four solid hip hop soul tracks by talented Melbourne producers.

ReMastered Myths brings together artists from diverse communities and traditions, to work together creating inter-cultural, eclectic new musical genres representative of Melbourne’s unique demographic.

Visible is a music mentoring program giving a kick-start to emerging and professional musicians from refugee and asylum seeker communities, putting together these artists with producers to create tracks for release on compilation. (I was honoured this year to work with Hazara poet Farkhonda Akbar Tufan on a track for the 10th edition of Visible. More about that here.)

Also from Melbourne … a long-awaited new album from Zulya and The Children of the Underground. Zulya Karmalova and the Children of the Underground have released many beautiful albums over the past decade or more, drawing on Zulya’s Tatar and Russian roots. The latest, On Love and Science, is a science fiction fairy tale sung in six languages, accompanied by a story book written by Zulya with stunning illustrations by Dilka Bear. The story is a classic love triangle, with a unique twist. How do you win a girl, with science or with magic? Or both? This time of year, should you be looking for an empowering gift for a young girl in your life, I’d recommend this!