Presented by Warra Kattendi – Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Events
Reviewed 12th March 2020
I would like to acknowledge that this performance took place on Kaurna land and pay my respects to all the language groups represented in this review.
The Merindas raised the roof of the Ngunyawayiti with their album launch titled We Sing Until Sunrise, Ngaangk Nookerdiny Ngala Warangka. This incredible sounding electronic, expressive, pop, R&B style music honours Indigenous culture and keeps language alive in such a modern and viberent way for younger generations. It is a breathe of fresh air in the music world and a credit to all those involved in its making.
DJ and Producer Jake Steele is first on stage with his mad mixing skills getting everyone dancing in their seats from the minute he starts. Then comes back up dancers Thara Brown, a proud Yorta Yorta woman, and Natarsha Bamblett, also a proud Yorta Yorta, GunnaiKurnai, Warlpiri and Wurundjeri woman, I want to side track for a minute to say that in researching for this review I discovered that Natarsha is an incredible advocate for Aboriginal people with her First Speech for the Inaugural Meeting of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria being a powerful reminder of what it is to know who you are. Thara and Natarsha’s performance throughout was a mixture of traditional cultural dance and modern pop moves that complemented each song and added an extra level to the show overall.
As the moment we had all been waiting for arrived it is no over exaggeration to say that every expectation and more was met as The Merindas, Candice Lorrae of Jawoyn and Thursday Islander heritage (born in Darwin NT) and Kristel Kickett a Nyoongar Ballardong Whadjuk woman (from Tammin WA), hit the stage. Their vocals are strong, gorgeous and just make you want to sing along to their self written lyrics that include tales of personal experiences and important topics such as domestic violence as well as songs that take their inspiration from Dreaming stories.
Candice and Kristel have captured a sound that is unique along with their eye catching costumes ( I really want a sequin dress now) to their Sistergirl chemistry and banter with one another between songs. This is a duo, who along with Jake, could take the world by storm and it isn’t hard to imagine them on the Eurovision stage representing Australia with the crowd jumping up and down in hysterics to any one of their feel good tunes. As a woman to watch four strong Indigenous women be such a powerful force on stage supported by a man who complemented their strength and whom was happy to stand at the back and let them take centre stage was not something that was lost on me. As the crowd was taught to sing in language, the energy was electric and as the last song played and audience members joined the stage to dance it was a sight that made my heart sing. Culture is alive, it is strong, and the Merindas are going to be a name that we hear a lot more of.
The Merindas are returning home to Victoria to play a festival next week before departing on a tour of Queensland, Broome and Darwin so if you are in any of these places check dates, go dance and sing you won’t regret it. Fingers crossed they head back to Adelaide soon.
Reviewed by Tara Forbes-Godfrey
Rating out of 5: 5
There are no words for how incredible this performance was. Pure joy, so much pride and such an honor to celebrate the strength in the room.