This article submitted by Glenys Opum of Noongar Radio.
The 26th of January, a moment in history that has become very controversial. A day where the indigenous Australians, the original land owners were stolen of their identity, culture, and their place of belonging.
Now in 2020 a new chapter has arisen, 26th of January is a day people come together to reunite and celebrate. Reclaiming identity, indulging in culture and celebrating as one people, one nation. For the tenth consecutive year Noongar Radio was live at the Birak Concert on the 26th of January 2020 as the indigenous people presented their culture to their fellow Australians at one of Noongar Boodjars biggest events.
Birak is the first summer in the noongar Seasonal calendar, representing the hot and dry months of December and January. The concert lived up to its name, with the sun shining bright and the colours red, black and yellow flying high in the sky, alongside the red, white and blue, uniting people as one and immersing in the rich culture that has been around for 60, 000 years.
Noongar Radio started the day with an all indigenous Top 100 Countdown and then at 3pm the official City of Perth Event began. Going Live with an outside broadcast across Australia on the National Indigenous Radio Service, Ngaarda Media in the Pilbara, The PAKAM Radio Network throughout the Pilbara and the Kimberly, Radio MAMA from Geraldton throughout the Mid-West, Murchison and Gascoyne, and streamed live on indigitube. Hosted by Noongar Radio’s favourites, the first indigenous wrestler Moorditj Marman, Neil Coyne, and the wonderful Deadly yorga, Michelle White.
“Being my first time doing an outside broadcast at an event it was definitely a highlight of 2020 so far, along with my co-host Michelle White, we met a lot of talented performers, locally and interstate. It was great to see people from all different cultures standing in the crowd and enjoying the Birak concert. To sum it up it was a great experience and I would love to do it again in a heartbeat”. [Neil Coyne. 2020]
Noongar Radio captured the powerful and uplifting voices coming from the protest as they marched on stage, host of Birak Phil Walley Stack [PWS] expressed his sadness and emotion. Reflecting on the past, thinking of how his ancestors were treated on that day brought tears to his eyes. People from different ethnic backgrounds came together to unite, standing together with the indigenous people to spread the message to the masses tuning in.
The event had so many familiar faces and with internationally acclaimed PWS the producer of the event we knew the acts were going to be amazing. Kicking it off was Lilly Gogos with a lovely mother and daughter duet. Indigo Ellis and Ronald Dick had us in awe when they came on stage. The concert showcased a number of local rappers including Trent Howard, Samuel Bennell, Jamahl Ryder, Yazza, Lil Mase, and Dj Deadly, all captivating the audience. Aboriginal dancers Koolangka’s Kreate had everyone moving when they played “I love Noongar Music”. There were so many other performances that were great and did a solid job in keeping the audience entertained. But the Headliner of the Concert, Last Kinection, had the crowd jumping and dancing throughout the night.
Noongar Radio gave interviews to many local acts, giving another platform to Perth artists to promote and allow their music and stories to be heard throughout Australia, showcasing Perth talent. Broadcasting live gave Australia a taste of what Perth has to offer and what they stand for within the community.
The performances were amazing, and the crowd was loving it, the kids enjoyed the many activities that were happening and the numerous food vans to choose from. Overall the Birak Concert hit off the year with a bang and for Noongar Radio to be in attendance and broadcast the event from across the nation was the cherry on top.