Midnight Oil fans around the world will get a treat today as the band release their first new song in nearly 20 years, ‘Gadigal Land’ feat. Dan Sultan, Joel Davison, Kaleena Briggs, Bunna Lawrie. Saturday night, August 8th, will see a special ‘in studio’ video of the song making its world premiere during the National Indigenous Music Awards (https://nima.musicnt.com.au/), which will be telecast on NITV from 7pm AEST and simulcast across the country on Double J, National Indigenous Radio Service, TEABBA, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

The song takes its name from Sydney’s traditional owners, many of whom continue to live in the city. The Gadigal (also sometimes spelt “Cadigal”) lands include what is now the CBD plus areas from South Head through to the inner west. ‘Gadigal Land’ is a provocative recount of what happened in this place, and elsewhere in Australia, since 1788.

This single is the first new music from ‘the Oils’ in nearly 20 years. It features special contributions by vocalists Kaleena Briggs, Bunna Lawrie, Dan Sultan plus a lyrical section written and delivered by Gadigal poet, Joel Davison. Like all the band’s new recordings it was produced by long-time collaborator Warne Livesey who also helmed legendary Midnight Oil albums, DIESEL & DUST, BLUE SKY MINING and CAPRICORNIA.

The incendiary rock track is drawn from THE MAKARRATA PROJECT – a themed mini-album of collaborations with Indigenous artists. Midnight Oil will donate its share of any proceeds it receives from this release to organisations which seek to elevate The Uluru Statement From The Heart in particular and Indigenous reconciliation more broadly (https://fromtheheart.com.au/). Sony Music Entertainment Australia will match any artist contribution.

After centuries of struggle for recognition and justice, 2017’s Uluru Statement called for the establishment of a ‘First Nations Voice’ enshrined in the Australian Constitution and the establishment of a ‘Makarrata Commission’ to supervise agreement-making and truth-telling between governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Clearly this mini-album has ended up being timely in ways nobody could have anticipated as the Black Lives Matter movement surges globally and renews local focus on Aboriginal deaths in custody. However, THE MAKARRATA PROJECT was actually recorded late last year after the band regrouped for a European tour. They entered the studio with about twenty songs of which seven revolved around themes of reconciliation so they decided to record that batch of material separately with a wide range of Indigenous collaborators (the rest of the new recordings are slated for 2021 release). THE MAKARRATA PROJECT was initially going to be launched with a special Splendour In The Grass appearance in July but when that festival was rescheduled for October the band moved the release back accordingly. Today, Midnight Oil confirmed that this unique collaborative mini-album will still be released in late October despite Splendour having to abandon their 2020 dates due to Covid-19.

THE MAKARRATA PROJECT will be the latest in a long line of reconciliation initiatives that Midnight Oil has supported. These include the band’s legendary Blackfella/Whitefella tour of remote Australia with The Warumpi Band in 1986 which inspired their global hit ‘Beds Are Burning’, their international touring with Yothu Yindi, the BURNING BRIDGES project, and the Oils’ hijacking of the Sydney Olympic Games Closing Ceremony when they controversially performed in clothes emblazoned with the word “Sorry”, adding further pressure in the campaign for an apology to the Stolen Generation.

Midnight Oil says: “We’ve always been happy to lend our voice to those who call for racial justice, but it really feels like we’ve reached a tipping point. We urge the federal government to heed the messages in the Uluru Statement From The Heart and act accordingly. Hopefully this song and THE MAKARRATA PROJECT mini-album we’ve created alongside our First Nations friends can help shine a bit more light on the urgent need for genuine reconciliation in this country and in many other places too.”

No comments yet.