First Nations hip-hop artist Ziggy Ramo brings his explosive and highly acclaimed work Black Thoughts to Melbourne Recital Centre this May as part of YIRRAMBOI Festival.
Black Thoughts is, at its core, an incredible artistic statement on growing up Aboriginal in Australia. When Black Thoughts was released last June, it blew all expectations of a debut out of the water. NME called it ’2020’s most important Australian album’ and countless more agreed, praising Ramo’s powerful commitment to bring racism to reckoning (TimeOut, RRR, The Monthly).
Ziggy’s insightful and arresting songs urge white Australia to wake up to past and present injustices and find a more equal and respectful way forward. The Monthly wrote: ‘Part of Ramo’s achievement on Black Thoughts is to make this history palpable in sound: to trace in his songs the continuity of racist governance and belief, but also the unbroken lineage of Indigenous resistance.’
Black Thoughts was released in the weeks following the murder of George Floyd in the U.S. and the rise of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Curiously, it was written years earlier in 2015. Ramo explained the album’s delayed release in a statement:
‘The album was very healing for me, but I never put it out because I knew as a country we weren’t ready to listen […] But unfortunately, it’s more relevant than ever and I refuse to wait any longer […] A lot of you have been asking what you can do to support change during this time. You can start by listening.’
Black Thoughts includes soundbites from an interview between Ramo and Daniel Browning, host of Awaye! on ABC Radio National. Daniel discussed what the work means to him:
‘_Black Thoughts_ challenges and provokes, and constructively unsettles. But eventually the lyrical journey reimagines the kind of country [we should all] want to live in; one that confronts its past, one that disposes of white lies and amplifies black truths. So, turn it up.’
Almost a year on since the album’s release, during which thousands of Australians have marched to show their support of #BlackLivesMatter and similar causes, Ziggy Ramo’s performance at Melbourne Recital Centre for YIRRAMBOI Festival presents a significant opportunity to reflect on what has changed and what still needs to. Supported by a six-piece band, in the Centre’s premier Elisabeth Murdoch Hall, there’s no better place to experience this milestone work for our times.
‘[Black Thoughts] will make you smile, dance, cry and hold onto your community.’ TimeOut‘Slicing deep into important topics, Ziggy Ramo has become the catalyst for change.’ Triple J
Ziggy Ramo: Black Thoughts
Friday 14 May 2021, 7.30pm
Elisabeth Murdoch Hall (75-mins no interval)
Presented by Melbourne Recital Centre & YIRRAMBOI Festival
YIRRAMBOI Festival (6-16 May) is Australia’s premier First Nations event. YIRRAMBOI means ‘tomorrow’ in the shared local languages of the Boonwurrung and Woiwurrung peoples. The Festival presents a future-focused celebration of the sophistication, diversity and continuous evolution of the longest living culture in the world.
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