Turning Heads with August Billy

Kuya James

September 28, 2020

Turning Heads episode 17 features musician and producer James Mangohig, who just released his debut album under the Kuya James alias, Isa

James is based in Darwin and has been involved in music for 20+ years. He was a member of the hip hop collective Culture Connect before joining TZU as a touring bass player. He then formed the duo Sietta with Caiti Baker, releasing their debut album The Seventh Passenger in 2011. 

In recent years, James has collaborated with TZU's Joelistics (aka Joel Ma) on the touring show, In Between Two, which explored what it means to grow up Asian in Australia. James' Filipino identity also strongly informs his work as Kuya James. 

The record features significant contributions from Serina Pech, another Darwin-based Filipino-Australian, as well as Emily Wurramara, Caiti Baker, Emcille, Stevie Jean, Tasman Keith and Don Murrungun. 

Our conversation covers James' career history, his major inspirations, his desire to inject Asian influences into the Kuya James productions and his relationship with Serina Pech. 

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.  

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