Musical theatre / “Evita”. Director Hal Prince. At Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House, until November 3. Reviewed by HELEN MUSA
RECONCILIATION Day is coming up on May 28, celebrated for the first time as a public holiday in the ACT, and the Canberra Theatre is marking the occasion the night before in a typically theatrical way – with a big party.
Replacing the Family and Community Day, the holiday and the festivities form part of National Reconciliation Week (May 27-June 3) under the theme “Don’t Keep History a Mystery: Learn. Share. Grow.”
The idea, Reconciliation Australia says, is for all of us to learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories, and music, the lingua franca of all people, is the chosen medium for the theatre’s contribution.
First up on Reconciliation Eve, Australian singer-songwriting legend Archie Roach teams up with Tiddas – Amy Saunders, Lou Bennett and Sally Dastey – on The Playhouse stage from 8pm-10pm with a show titled “Dancing with My Spirit”, named after one of Roach’s hits. He’ll also perform crowd-pleasers such as “A Child was Born Here” and “Dancing Shoes”.
From 9.30pm in the Canberra Theatre bar the Bad Apples Music House Party begins, hosted by Queanbeyan boy-made-good and long-time Triple J hip-hop presenter Hau Latukefu.
That’s headlined by the formidable Yorta Yorta rapper Briggs, familiar to TV viewers from the drama series “Cleverman” and “The Weekly with Charlie Pickering” and founder in 2015 of indigenous record label Bad Apples Music and supported by Birdz, Nooky, Alice Skye, Omar Musa and Kobie Dee.
“CityNews” caught up with rapper Nathan Bird by phone to Melbourne.
“I put a ‘z’ on the end of my name and became ‘Birdz’,” he tells us of his rap name.
A busy recording and performing artist raised in Katherine, NT, he rose to fame through three singles in late 2016 – “Black Lives Matter”, “Hunger Voodoo” and with rapper Jimblah, “Rise”. Then in August his debut album “Train of Thought” was released through Bad Apples, exposing him to a wider audience.
Birdz now lives in Melbourne, where he is the proud father of a two-and-a-half-year-old son, but tells us he leaps at the chance to visit family back in the NT as he did last year during the “Voodoo Laksa” tour when he travelled to Katherine, also doing hip-hop workshops and sharing stories with kids at the local high school.
“Right now I’m working on my new album playing as many shows as possible, balancing family in between the two,” he says.
Birdz applauds the ACT’s establishment of Reconciliation Day as a public holiday, describing it as “an opportunity for everyone to learn more about the country we live in, our history, our indigenous people and their relationship with Australia – both the good and the bad.”
And who better than younger Australians to get involved?
“Young people provide a cool example…they get it, coming together and having an exchange,” he says.
Archie Roach and Tiddas at The Playhouse, 8pm, Sunday, May 27; Bad Apple Music House Party, Canberra Theatre bar. Bookings for both to canberratheatrecentre.com.au or 6275 2700.