Isol-Aid, TikTok and more: Where to catch Indigenous musicians this NAIDOC Week

Isol-Aid, TikTok and more: Where to catch Indigenous musicians this NAIDOC Week

Some of Australia's most remarkable musicians will be performing online shows and streams over the next week, and here's where to catch them.

Header image of Tasman Keith by Jess Gleeson.

Every year, NAIDOC Week - typically held in July, but this year being held in November due to coronavirus - is a celebration of the First Nations people, including (but definitely, definitely not limited to) the rich amount of culture and art that has made Australia such a creative hub throughout its extensive history. Indigenous music is included within that, and NAIDOC Week often celebrates that with live performances scattered throughout the week that emphasise the musical talent of Indigenous Australians, and the artists and releases worth celebrating.

Obviously, things are a little bit different this year. Many of the events have been cancelled altogether, while some have had the opportunity to move online so they can continue to celebrate Indigenous musicians in a digital way. There's also a few things that have never been done before - many of them spurred by this movement to online - with lineup announcements for live streams and online events littering the last few months.

It's obviously pretty tough to keep up with, so here's a quick guide to some performances we're checking out, featuring the best of the best when it comes to Australian music.

Isol-Aid #34: A NAIDOC Celebration - 

Online event series Isol-Aid has been one of the most celebrated and appreciated off-shoots of coronavirus limitations, started within the very first week of lockdown as a way for musicians to entertain and showcase their music even without live shows. Since then, it's erupted into an entirely different beast, raising money and celebrating the country's talent through curated streams that throughout its 34-week history (maybe a little longer than that, considering the break weeks) have celebrated everything from kids music to music from specific communities and suburbs.

This week's event runs on Saturday November 14th with a line-up curated by The Merindas' Candice Lorrae, who has used the event to build a lineup bustling with some incredible Indigenous talent of the future. Included within that is WA musicians Boox Kid and The Struggling Kings, The Merindas themselves, plus Monica Karo, Deeya Mithadda, Madi Colville, Lyrical Instinct, BUMPY and DOBBY. You can watch it on their website, as well as on Instagram.

First Nations Artists on TikTok - 

This year, TikTok are hosting a special run of NAIDOC Week shows featuring Indigenous creatives scattered throughout the week, including comedians, makeup artists, chefs and dancers. There's also an #AlwaysWasAlwaysWillBe performance program happening at the same time, which will highlight Indigenous musicians through their TikTok accounts with live streams and playlists supporting them.

At 8PM AEDT / 5PM AWST each day, a different First Nations musician will feature. On Monday, it'll be Northern Territory rapper J-MILLA; Tuesday will feature rising R&B force Kee'ahn; Wednesday will feature Baker Boy; Thursday will bring Sycco, and finally, Friday will welcome Mitch Tambo. There's also a playlist that encourages TikTok users to use sounds by Indigenous Australian musicians, including The Kid LAROI., The Merindas, Becca Hatch and trials. Find more information here.

NAIDOC in the City - 

Every year, The City of Sydney's NAIDOC in the City event brings New South Wales musicians and creatives to inner-Sydney for a program of shows and events scattered throughout NAIDOC Week. This year, it's all online, but that hasn't stopped an incredible lineup hosted by Luke Carroll and Angeline Penrith. This year, it'll feature Ziggy Ramo, Barkaa and Mi-Kaisha, alongside panel discussions, dance workshops, online stores and more. Find more information here.

The Sound: Season 2, Episode 2 - 

Aired live on ABC on Sunday November 8th, the second episode of The Sound's second season is available for viewing on iview now, and it includes some absolutely wonderful acts. There's Midnight Oil with Gurrumul and Dan Sultan, Archie Roach, Briggs, Busby Marou, Tasman Keith and a touching tribute to Warumpi Band featuring Christine Anu, Electric Fields, Ngaiire and Emma Donovan. Also, Cathy Freeman hosted it with Christine Anu (!!). Watch the full thing on iview here.

Looking Out, Looking In - 

This isn't so much a live show that you have to tune in to see at a specific time, but instead a playlist compiled through the City of Melbourne, which has been re-made for NAIDOC Week featuring all-Indigenous musicians. It's curated by Kee'ahn, Soju Gang and DJ PGZ, with the playlist spanning genres and communities to include everyone from Briggs and Lady Lash through to Archie Roach, River Boy and Miiesha. Dive into it below:

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