01.07.2021 Amos Roach announced as the recipient of the First Nations Artist in Residence program

MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL AND THE AUSTRALIAN ART ORCHESTRA ANNOUNCES 2021 FIRST NATIONS ARTIST IN RESIDENCE PROGRAM


Delivered in partnership between the Melbourne International Jazz Festival (MIJF) and the Australian Art Orchestra (AAO), a First Nations Artist in Residence program was launched in May 2021 to support the career development of a First Nations musician, with a particular focus on jazz and improvised music.

MIJF together with the AAO have today announced award-winning musician, dancer, director and proud Djab Wurrung/Gunditj Mara and Ngarrindjeri man, Amos Roach, as their inaugural First Nations Artist in Residence.

Amos says of the announcement: “To be selected as the inaugural First Nations Residence at Australian Arts Orchestra and Melbourne International Jazz Festival is an exciting honour and privilege.”

Amos has been playing keyboard, guitar, bass and Yidaki since he was eight, and is acknowledged as one of Australia’s best Yidaki players. He uses traditional instruments, songs, music and dance to tell stories of Songlines, Family and Country:

“To normalise the use of Traditional First Nations instruments in the general community adds to the sense of confidence to practice Culture openly and publicly. This is a profound shift in the dynamic between First Nations people and the general community, given the oppression and suppression of Cultural practices that has occurred here for so long.”

MIJF CEO & Program Director, Hadley Agrez, says, “MIJF’s Artist and Sector Development Programs are all about the future of Australian Jazz, reflecting a rich and diverse history and community.

“We are thrilled to see Amos take on this exciting new program, and I look forward to seeing how his unique artistic style and connection to Culture influences both his work and the broader jazz and improvised music genre”.

The residency includes a cash bursary to develop and premiere a new work at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival in October, as well as a paid position with the AAO, which incorporates a professional development program and a 10-day music intensive.

Yolngu Songman and AAO collaborator, Daniel Wilfred, says, “Amos is a storyteller. Using music and dance, and sharing his knowledge of Songlines, Family and Country. I want to learn about his stories and culture, and together we can share our knowledge and learn new things.”

About Amos Roach

Amos Roach is an award-winning musician, dancer and director and proud Djab Wurrung/Gunditj Mara and Ngarrindjeri man. A cultural practitioner, traditional First Nations culture informs the fundamentals of his craft.  His music is part of the songline that connects people and Country.  His dances also reconnect country to culture. He uses traditional instruments, songs, music and dance to tell stories of Songlines, Family and Country and aims to bring traditional instruments into the mainstream canon.

Amos has been playing keyboard, guitar, bass and Yidaki since he was eight years old, and is acknowledged as one of Australia’s best Yidaki players. As a musician, Amos has regularly performed with a host of bands and artists like Dave Arden, Black Magic, No Fixed Address and with father, Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter and the Roach Family Band.  Amos also creates his own stages and events, with his own Company, Herding Cats Management & Events, showcasing First Nations performers and is Director of Murrundaya Yepengna, a dance troupe.

An equally talented dancer and choreographer, Amos is the director of the award-winning  ‘Neon Ngargee’, and ongoing project with the Murrundaya Yepengna that uses neon colour, ochre and black lights in a celebration of Kulin Nations dance and songs.

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