26 September 2023

The Makarrata Project

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Reviewed by Ian Phillips.

By Midnight Oil, Sony Music 2010.

I have already reviewed the first two singles released from Midnight Oil’s Makarrata Project and I truly believe that they are up there with the best stuff the Oils have ever done.

First Nation and Gadigal Land were songs that Rob Hirst brought to the original sessions for the album and he is really impressed with the input that the indigenous artists brought and the direction that both songs took.

Change The Date has the unmistakable vocal contribution of Gurrumul Yunupingu.

This occurred with the blessing of his family and he combines with Dan Sultan to present a heartfelt plea to find a mutually agreeable compromise to the Australia Day/invasion Day dilemma.

Terror Australia is a beautiful sad ballad performed by Alice Skye.

What makes the song so powerful is the blend of Alice’s plaintive vocals with the sparse piano backing provided by Jim Moginie.

It’s a most unlikely Midnight oil approach to a song and it works brilliantly.

Throughout the album indigenous contributors speak in their native tongues.

The opening section to Desert man, Desert Woman is spoken in language by Frank Yamma.

Wind In My Head, Featuring the wonderful Kev Carmody & Sammy Butcher, sees a return to the full band and the familiar elements of infectious rhythm and beat provided by the acoustic guitars of Martin Rotsey and Jim Moginie over the impeccable drumming of Rob Hirst.

The final track is a reading of the Uluru Statement From The Heart read over a haunting backdrop provided by the oils.

It culminates with the Oils and Troy Cassar-Daley performing Come On Down, a call to action to join them in pushing for an acceptance of the Uluru Statement and also an indigenous voice to Parliament.

The Uluru Statement From The Heart has been shamelessly misrepresented by many of our political leaders who have been prepared to muddy the waters to push their own agendas.

But the Statement From The Heart was never intended solely for the politicians and it never advocated for a third chamber in Parliament.

It was a gift to all of us and expressed a desire that we walk hand in hand to a new future.

One that acknowledges the past and accepts that Makarrata (truth telling) is a vital part of the process of healing.

The Uluru Statement From The Heart is on the CD cover.

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