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UPDATE: Always Was, Always Will Be — a Collection of Music From First Nations Artists

Our ongoing playlist highlighting the creativity of First Nations people, whilst reclaiming space and paying homage to the very first storytellers.

Back with a new update to our Always Was, Always Will Be playlist — a collection of music from First Nations artists curated by Yorta Yorta/Bangerang woman and Acclaim staff writer Taneshia Atkinson. The ongoing playlist aims to platform storytelling that highlights the creativity of First Nations people, the power of community and the impacts of colonial violence — whilst reclaiming space and paying homage to the very first storytellers. From newcomers to the music scene, debut tracks and timeless melodies, be sure to follow the playlist for regular updates of some of the best tracks traversing First Nations voices.

We’ve pulled a few standout tracks for some more insight into a few highlights from the newest update of Always Was, Always Will Be:

Barkaa – Division
‘Division’ has you burning with rage and power within the first few seconds, right until the last breath of the song. Malyangapa and Barkindji rapper Barkaa released one of the most powerful anthems of 2023 with this one. Division is Barkaa’s response to the racism stirred by the referendum highlighting that there has always been a divide within so-called Australia. The track opens with a soundbite of an old interview casually talking about lynching, followed by the wrath of Barkaa’s pride and love for her people. Speaking to the colonial violence and genocide, the track is an ode to mob, giving voice to and encapsulating the pain only heightened by the referendum. I don’t want your table, fuck your table and its weak legs / Fuck your constitution, you can keep it for them rednecks

DENNI – Keep it down
One of my favourite releases from the independent truwulway artist DENNI. ‘Keep it down’ presents a catchy chorus introducing DENNI’s eerie and unique cadence that showcases her effortless vocals. With an ethereal energy, DENNI contrasts daring deep whispers with a staunch energy to culminate a flawless track.

The Boy Of Many Colors-  Take Me Back 
From his debut self-titled album, Yidinji MBarBarrum artist The Boy Of Many Colors shares his innate desire to return to the old ways of living on ‘Take Me Back’. The track is layered with sounds of the didgeridoo and clapsticks entwined with language, evoking a deep sense of conveyance. The textural soundscape holds place for the storytelling structure, an invitation to sit down and listen, with tenacity and passion flowing through the lyrics. Take me back / back to the ways and the old days when the soul blazed up so bright like your fire

Walmatjarri and Bunuba rapper Kayps wastes no time on ‘BLAKFELLA’ as he enters the ring heavily punching through lyrics that introduce a blaring bassline. The track delivers distorted high-energy both sonically and lyrically, feeling like Denzel Curry is about to jump on the track. ‘BLAKFELLA’ is housed on his recent project THANKS FOR HAVING ME. Go listen, you’ll be better for it. At only 18 there are big things to come from the Perth local.

Say True God? – MISSY
Say True God? proper killed this, heightening and renewing an already infectious anthem with a brand new style. Sampling Missy Elliot’s ‘Gossip Folks’, Say True God? proves once again why he is abrasively amassing streams with his signature flows, clever lyricism and customary felicity. TG / name me a better acronym.

Keep it locked to Acclaim and follow the playlist for ongoing updates.

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