5 Indigenous Creatives And Changemakers With Musician/Performer Samuel Gaskin

Singer, songwriter, actor, performer and changemaker Samuel Gaskin has released his new single, ‘RĀIN’. . . Sharing Indigenous knowledge and strength alongside pop duo The Merindas.

Samuel Gaskin and The Merindas - Image © Michelle Grace Hunder

'RĀIN' is the follow-up to Samuel's 2021 breakthrough track 'RECKŌNING'. 'RECKŌNING' is also the title of Samuel's theatre performance work which fuses Indigenous cultures and combines ancestral stories. Samuel will perform this work again at Victoria's Frankston Arts Centre.

'RĀIN' is the mesmerising result of the collaboration of an unlikely trio of powerhouses, produced by the ARIA Award-winning Pip Norman, presenting an amalgamation of two Indigenous cultures – from Aotearoa, New Zealand and Te Whēnua Moemoeā (Land of the Dreamtime), Australia.

The song uses references to the elements to deliver messages of power and strength – it's uplifting and optimistic, its verses and chorus both as catchy as each other.

Here, in celebration of this song and collaboration, Samuel takes the time to list his top five Indigenous creatives and changemakers. Check it out (and listen to the new single) below.

"Kia ora tatou ko Ngati Tuwharetoa toko iwi Ko Yoruba - Nigeria took IWI hoki ko Samuel Gaskin taku ingoa.

Hello everyone. My tribe is Ngati Tuwharetoa (NZ) and Yoruba – Nigeria also. My name is Samuel Gaskin.

I am unbelievably grateful to be a guest on the stolen lands of the Wurundjerii people of the Kulin Nation and I acknowledge their ancestors and everything they have endured due to colonisation. I applaud and acknowledge their strength, Mana, love and resilience.

Indigenous culture means everything to me. For me it’s where the truth lies. It’s where the answers are held and what I look to for guidance. In a world that has its values and belief systems all over the place and upside down, that culture is what grounds me in the most powerful of places. Knowing exactly who I am, where I come from and what I am here to do, be and inspire."

One

Shareena Clanton (Wongatha, Yamatji, Noongar, Gija, Cherokee, Blackfoot, Afro American). Shareena is a fierce film, television and theatre actress and activist. She is really well known for her role as Doreen Anderson on the television drama 'Wentworth' and is currently starring in 'Joe Vs Carole' on Netflix. What I love the most about her though is her bravery when it comes to speaking the #Truth. She does not suffer fools and will not hesitate when it comes to shutting down the outdated racist and colonial rhetoric still so ever present on these stolen lands. This is an extremely hard thing to do when the world of entertainment we live in is so dominantly controlled by straight, white, privileged males. My love and respect for her is so REAL and I’m very proud to call her a friend.

Two

Jessica Mauboy (Kuku Yalanji and Wakaman woman who also has Indonesian bloodlines from her father). If you don’t know who she is you must have been living under a rock. She stole everyone’s hearts on 'Australian Idol' in 2006 and has been making the world fall in love with her ever since. In my opinion she is Australia’s Beyoncé and THE MOST talented and hard working performer in the game. We met in 2007 when I was in the thick of working as a commercial dancer. She was part of a girl group with some other friends of mine and we hit it off immediately. What I love about her is that while her rise has been astronomical she still remedies the same humble, fun, switched on ray of sunshine I met all those years ago. At her core she’s just a beautiful soul who loves to sing and share good vibes with the world. I’ve never seen her get caught up in the fame game and that makes my heart smile. The work she is making right now is without a doubt her BEST yet. She’s definitely in a place of love and freedom and you can feel it in her new music which I LOVE.

Three

The Merindas. The Merindas are the collective force of Ballardong Whadjuk Nyoongar woman Kristel Kickett (from Tammin, WA) and Candice Lorrae of Jawoyn and Thursday Island heritage (born in Darwin, NT). The Merindas' career continues to go from strength to strength having recently secured a worldwide publishing deal with GAGA Music, and live representation with Australia’s largest independent booking agency Select Music. They have also recently showcased at SXSW Virtual Conference and announced as nominees in the Music Victoria Awards (2020/21). The Merindas are what the world needs more of. As far as I'm concerned, the future of music is Indigenous and these beauties embody everything it means to be strong, powerful women. The way they weave their artistry with their culture is effortless and I am truly one of their biggest fans. We met at a gig in NZ where we were both performing with Yothu Yindi and the Treaty project and have been besties ever since. The way they juggle being full time artists with motherhood and advocating for their communities is inspiring and so is their SASS and SWAG. These ones are going places so make sure you start following them NOW!

Four

Quack Pirihi. I've only just started following them on on Instagram but f... am I in love already. The way they talk about the 'hard' stuff especially when it comes to the intersection of 'culture' and 'traditions' vs being queer/non-binary and or LGBTQIA+ is just magic. To me they are what leadership looks like. Being able to embrace all parts of yourself and not neglecting one for the other. Being BRAVE enough to question things that don’t feel right or extremely colonial. Massive fan and highly recommend following them for constant queer Indigenous excellence.

Five

Zacharia Lowah Fielding. Zaachariaha’ is Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara mob. Where do I begin with this one? Not only are they the lead singer of Electric Fields they are also the most unbelievably talented visual artist. My dream is to own one of their giant artworks and have it hanging on my wall very soon. The fact that they are shining so brightly and taking up space in this country gives me hope. How many superstars like them have you seen centred in Australia before? NONE, that's right, zero. So it's not lost on me how important it is for them to be shining so brightly and having so much attention on them right now. They are my favourite artist in this country and also the most beautiful of humans. We met many moons ago on a certain TV show that we made the top 50 or so on. Neither of us were featured in the final cut thank the ancestors because just look at us now HUNTY! If you are not familiar with Zachariah and Electric Fields GET INTO IT immediately, if not sooner!



'RĀIN' is out now. Samuel plays his award-winning theatre show 'RECKŌNING' at Frankston Arts Centre (Victoria) 8 May.

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