Last weekend my family went to Alesa Lajana’s Hidden Histories preview concert at Mt Tambourine, at Club Zamia.
Alesa, with support from the exceptional Kirk Lorange, performed her album preview to an intimate crowd of friends, family and the public from her home town and Brisbane. Many songs were performed for the very first time in public.
She told us intriguing and moving background stories to each of them. The purpose of this collection of songs is to give voice to forgotten or ignored Aboriginal people and to share their stories which lie hidden in our landscapes (review coming). Some of these songs have been co-written with notable artists such as Shane Howard and Amy Saunders as well as that she has collaborated with the poet Sam Wagan Watson.
Her research is creating an album especially directed at a ‘white’ or ‘European’ Australia that still doesn’t always show respect for its first people, or who remain unmoved by it. Alesa is courageous and has not been daunted in continuing with her project when others have challenged her about why she is writing these songs.
Alesa thinks that although there are some books written on the history of the Aboriginal people in Australia, songs have a power to move the human spirit and speak more directly to the heart. Throughout her concert she uses the language group names of all the Aboriginal people she has interviewed for the songs and shows utmost respect for her subjects by placing these songs into a context of righting injustice through a truth telling.
I am working on editing an extensive interview I did with Alesa about the process of putting together this album and a review of the concert.
Alesa’s upcoming album is going to include her beloved banjo. Songs during this particular concert included electric guitar/banjo, banjo, and guitar. Alesa is an exceptional guitarist and as well as sharing her new songs treated us to straight instrumental brilliance. She loves to mimic the bagpipes with her guitar.
Thank you to Alesa for permission to photograph this review concert and to Club Zamia and Bronwyn Davies for her warm tap dancing welcome to the night. The concert venue reminded me so much of what I miss about living in a small country town.
My son, an aspiring singer song writer guitarist, says Alesa is a female ‘Woody Guthrie’ and Shane Howard says he feels at peace that he can hand the baton of social and political song writing to artists of the next generation like Alesa.
Looking forward to the release of this album.
c) June Perkins
Written September 2014, Blogged at Alesa Lajana’s Preview Concert