Spinifex Gum’s pop-laden second album ‘Sisters’ is a beautiful and optimistic collection of 10 songs from this unique collective made up of Felix Riebl and Ollie McGill from The Cat Empire, and the young talented Indigenous women from Marliya Choir under the leadership of Lyn Williams and Deborah Brown.
Marliya Choir (pronounced Mar-lee-ya) hail from Far North Queensland and sing in English, Yindjibarndi and KLY, bringing a vibrant, young voice to Australian issues, while trail-blazing a new pop-choir genre.
Also released today is the title track and second single, which celebrates the deep friendship, youthful spirit, and collective strength of the Marliya Choir. Within the song’s sweet melody and playful production the girl’s and young women’s determination to be seen and heard shines through.
Chorister Grace Miller described the feeling in the group, saying “We are all really excited about the release. This album mainly focuses on hope and Marliya’s optimism towards family, friends and change towards the future. The songs feature a much lighter message compared to our first album, but nevertheless they inform the listeners about the message we are trying to spread.”
‘Sisters’ features 10 songs including the single ‘Together’ featuring 17 year-old Brianna Durante in her first moment as a lead vocalist. Many of the songs have an undeniable emphasis on young female empowerment.
An album of mostly originals, ‘Sisters’ also includes covers of ‘Dream Baby Dream’ (a translation of the Bruce Springsteen version of the original 1979 Suicide song) and ‘My Island Home’.
Felix, Spinifex Gum’s songwriter and director says of the album, “Sisters is pure sunshine. You turn it on and there’s this immediate sense of joy. The Marliya Choir give us something life affirming in their sound. I believe we need that at the moment. Whereas the first album was a clenched fist, this one is an embrace.”
The beats on the album are made up of samples from the QLD tropics, where rocks, shells, wood, crickets, and many others are effected to become tracks that present with unique depth. The Spinifex Gum sound is equally at home at a summer-festival, on a bush stage in a remote Indigenous community, as in an iconic arts-theatre.
Spinifex Gum toured extensively in 2019, performing in Sydney (Sydney Opera House), in Arnhem Land (Garma Festival), Darwin (NIMAs), The Pilbara (Red Earth Arts Festival), including the historic opening of the Ganalili Cultural centre in Roebourne, Canberra (Canberra Theatre) and Melbourne (Melbourne Recital Centre).
The recent tour included a spine-tingling performance of ‘Dream Baby Dream’ in Canberra on Monday September 9 in a packed Marble Foyer of Parliament House; an inclusive and special moment in front of invited politicians and guests.
Spinifex Gum was nominated for Best New Australian Work at the 2019 Helpmann Awards, and has seen Marliya choir perform alongside special guests Briggs, Peter Garrett, Christine Anu, and Emma Donovan.
Marliya Choir is part of the national Gondwana Choirs program, led by Lyn Williams (AM)