Reviewed by: The Clothesline
Review by David Cronin | 01 March 2021

Nexus Arts at Lion Arts Centre Sun 28 Feb.

A ‘link’ today means that with a click we are transported through a portal into another world in cyberspace; but our link to this land we live in is far more than this. It’s another dimension entirely. In fact, there are so many layers and links that our ‘white’ minds cannot comprehend them.

These three indigenous song men and song women have set out to bring us a taste of what true connection to country really feels like. Just as their ancestors and their fathers and mothers before them walked across vast stretches of the Australian deserts, these modern troubadours take their music on the road, visiting probably more venues than most Fringe artists.

With strong, soaring voices and an excellent backing band the show mixes stories in among a wide range of music styles. There is less ‘country’ and more gritty city ballads, soulful blues and solid rock rhythms.

All are accomplished musicians, accompanied by virtuoso performances from the tight four-piece group, and laid back enough to allow the focus to be the messages in the songs. When these arrangements were pared back to the minimum it allowed the lyrics to shine, while the driving rock beats would have had us all up dancing – if we were allowed to…!

Russell Smith’s mastery of the digeridoo/yidaki is impeccable. Its rumble, roar and many added inflections paint a timeless landscape for us to enter. The songs and stories tell of tough times and hardship, of close friends ‘checking out,’ of far too many young girls who go missing. But there’s always cheeky humour to keep moving on, and the support of family bonds that are stronger than we can imagine.

Did you know that traditional burning is only now being allowed again? It has taken this long for us to see the rich heritage we have at our doorstep. I’m born and raised in this state and it’s a privilege to finally hear from these local spokespeople.