Allara is revitalising Indigenous farming traditions from her inner Melbourne rental house
06.07.2020

Allara is revitalising Indigenous farming traditions from her inner Melbourne rental house

WORDS BY AUGUSTUS WELBY

Yorta Yorta musician, composer and filmmaker Allara joins us for Episode #9 of the Turning Heads podcast.

Episode #9 of Beat’s Turning Heads podcast features Melbourne-based musician Allara, who released the single ‘Murnong Farm’ in May 2020. Like all of her work, ‘Murnong Farm’ draws on and explores First Nations identity and the various struggles that come with being an Indigenous person in modern-day Australia, including the struggle for sovereignty and the feeling of displacement.

Allara’s music centres on her double bass playing and spoken word vocals. It’s a unique sound – it’s spoken word, very rhythmical and musical, but not quite rapping. It’s difficult to know where to categorise it, but it’s somewhat adjacent to hip hop, neo soul, contemporary jazz and indie rock.

Two texts had a big influence on the lyrics of ‘Murnong Farm’. The primary impetus for the song was Bruce Pascoe’s book Dark Emu, which looks at the advanced nature of Indigenous farming prior to the European invasion of 1788. The other major influence was Behrouz Boochani’s book No Friend But The Mountains, which was written during the Kurdish Iranian journalist’s six-year incarceration in the Australian government immigration detention facility on Manus Island.

Allara speaks very thoughtfully and passionately on the topics of displacement, sovereignty and freedom, and her songwriting follows suit. In the podcast, we spoke about the foundations of her unique merging of double bass and spoken word, as well as her efforts to revitalise old traditions from her rental house in inner Melbourne.

Check out the podcast episode below:

I will be back with a new episode of Turning Heads next week. You can find the podcast on SpotifyPodbean and through Apple.

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