Entertainment

Hardcore troubadour

Kerrianne's supporting Sisters Healing Earth (SHE) at the launch for their new CD Earth Mother, which fuses harp, medicine drums and penny whistle with healing intent.

"They're women who have moved from cities to Nimbin to lead a freer life. They've found a place that supported them as women finding their power, the feminine form singing up the human healing of the planet. I'm working as an Aboriginal woman integrating that cultural healing."

For many years Kerrianne's been a potent solo performer and advocate for the sovereign rights of her people.

"When I was 17 I considered politics, till I realised how cut-throat the system was and how hard it was to push change through. Music was a much better way to be part of the true revolution. I'm a troubadour, and the job of a troubadour is to get clear about your message. We're not going to prevail as just the deadly blacks in a patriarchal world, we have to find the balance between men and women, blackfellas and whitefellas."

Highlights of a dangerous life:

In 2004 Kerrianne was elected chairperson of the Beagle Bay Community and shortlisted for a National 2005 Human Rights Award. From her base there she continued the relentless work that in 1997 won a WAMI (Western Australia Music Industry) award and in 2000, NAIDOC's (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) Female Artist of the Year. In 2001 she received the Deadly Vibe Female Artist of the Year and in 2003 the Australian Government Centenary Medal and the ALMA (Australian Live Music Awards) Songlines Indigenous Award.

Kerrianne's played Womadelaide, the Sydney Opera House and all important cultural points in between. She's toured extensively throughout the United States, Canada, Asia and South Africa. In 2005 she was NAIDOC's National Artist of the Year and became a vital part of the National Indigenous Women's Leadership Program.

Tours throughout Australia and Asia have seen her at countless festivals, the most recent being Ukitopia, just up the road. Across this epoch she's recorded three CDs, the most recent being Return to Country. Evoked by her homecoming after years on the road, it came out of seeing family members struck down by the afflictions that still beset Aboriginal people.

"I came back from years in the world and when you see what's happening at home you either fall in a hole or you rise to the occasion."

Kerrianne says she sees frightening correlations between the industrialization of the Kimberlys and the encroachment of coal seam gas mining in the Northern Rivers.

"You people are starting to feel the injustice we feel every day of our lives. But we're past being simply Aboriginal, our rights as shareholders of the earth have been violated.

"I've been fighting long before this - the history of unresolved Aboriginal injustice is what I was brought up in. I had our culture and music to bring me through it. It's important to bring a common vision together as a starting point for groups around Australia."

And in a national scoop, Kerrianne's revealed to The Scene that her maternal grandmother, Jabirr Jabirr elder Rita Augustine, who publicly berated retired Greens leader Bob Brown on ABC TV's Q&A program over his opposition to the Kimberly gas hub, has changed her mind and resolved to oppose it.

"She realized she'd been set up and used. She wants to put a new claim in. So now our family's back together and strong. When you wanna see change you don't go to the pollies, you go to the people. That's my big strategy."

Kerrianne Cox plays alongside SHE at the Nimbin Bush Theatre on December 8. Tickets: $20/15 from iwannaticket.com.au, The Green Bank in Nimbin or at the door.


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