Turning heads episode nine features Melbourne-based, Yorta Yorta musician, composer and filmmaker, Allara. The conversation focuses on Allara’s latest single, ‘Murnong Farm’, which like all of her work 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. It’s somewhat adjacent to hip hop, neo soul, contemporary jazz and indie rock.
Allara spoke about two texts that 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 pre-colonial indigenous farming. And the other was Behrouz Boochani's No Friend But The Mountains, which was written during the Kurdish Iranian journalist's six years in the Manus Island immigration detention centre.
Allara speaks very thoughtfully and passionately on the topics of displacement and sovereignty and freedom, and her songwriting follows suit.
Turning heads is recorded on the stolen land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation; the traditional custodians of the land. I pay my respects to their elders past and present, and acknowledge that sovereignty has never been ceded.