Legislative Council: Tuesday, May 30, 2023



The Hon. T.T. NGO (16:03): My question is to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. Can the minister tell the house about South Australian hip-hop group DEM MOB and the upcoming opportunity to showcase their work on the global stage?

Members interjecting:


Members interjecting:

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (16:03): I can't.

The PRESIDENT: Not in this place he can't.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: If the interjection was heard and recorded, and if it was parliamentary to interject, I suspect it would be misleading the chamber, quite frankly. I thank the honourable member for his question and his interest and support of Aboriginal people and Aboriginal affairs, and his longstanding interest in hip-hop music culture generally. Thank you, the Hon. (DJ) Tung Ngo in the house.

DEM MOB are a hip-hop group hailing from the APY lands, Mimili in particular, and are the latest Aboriginal Australian music act to catch international attention as they make their way over to Europe after being invited to Primavera Pro. For the past 22 years, Primavera Sound has been one of Europe's landmark music festivals. Since 2020, it has been held in conjunction with the festival as a global gathering for the music world to bring together professionals and artists who are shaping the present and future of the music industry.

Held in Barcelona, Primavera Pro this year will host 3,500 professionals and artists in the music industry hailing, I am informed, from 68 different countries to connect, share knowledge, generate ideas and generate a platform that fosters talent internationally.

DEM MOB, made up of Jontae Lawrie, Elisha Umuhuri and Nason Lawrie, found hip-hop as their storytelling vessel to communicate their stories, struggles, culture and stories of their land. Being the first major hip-hop artists to record in the Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara languages, DEM MOB have generated a lot of attention and respect within the Australian music industry, particularly in the South Australian music scene, after winning Best Hip-Hop Act at the South Australian Music Awards in 2021 and 2022, as well as placing as finalists in Best Regional or Torres Strait Islander Artist in 2021 and 2022.

Primavera Pro have invited DEM MOB as the Australian representatives to share the role of music to communicate and transform lives and also to share their story regarding Spain's own conversation surrounding its First Nations responsibilities and history.

DEM MOB are this week making their way to Barcelona to take part in the conference showcase, as well as to facilitate another project called the Primaveres Experiencies or simply PE. The aim of the DEM MOB PE experience is to explore using music as a cultural tool for students aged 16 to 20. This will be done through students' active listening to life experiences told through music and songs that have been important during DEM MOB's career and lives. It's about listening to music together, while hearing about their perspective of music and its influence on our culture. Elisha has reflected on what music means to their culture. He explained that:

Music is the last link we have to our culture. Everything in our world has a dreamtime story, a song to teach procedures. If we lose our dreamtime stories, we will lose our culture…Music is everything to us. This is why we do what we do.

We are at an exciting time where local Aboriginal talent from South Australia is being showcased on a global level. The conversations our state is having regarding our First Nations responsibility and history are being echoed and used as an example for the rest of the world to build on their own culture, knowledge and understanding of First Nations people.

I am very pleased to have been kept informed and help where I can with DEM MOB's opportunity that will see this hip-hop outfit from Mimili's voices grow louder and echo further than ever before. I would commend the chamber to do yourselves a favour and check out the music of DEM MOB.