For the past 11 months, Toby Finlayson and Matthew Priestley from Desert Pea Media have been developing relationships with young people from the remote Aboriginal community of Collarenebri NSW. As part of an ongoing ‘hip hop literacy’ mentoring program at Collarenebri Central School, we created a hip hop track called ‘Close That Gap’ as the third song by ‘The Colly Crew’.
In the leadup to the project, local community liason Roslyn Mcgregor discovered a competition hosted by Generation One, called the ‘Hands Across Australia’ Schools Competition. The competition asked schools aroud Australia to record a version of the ‘Hands Across Australia’ song written by Les Glock and Christine Anu.
See the song here
Desert Pea Media added our signature flavour with beats by Marz1, and hip hop lyrics from our innovative cultural mentoring process – and we entered this…
Sure enough, the Collarenebri Central School entry won the ‘Highly Commended’ Award for our unique and powerful rendition, and the staff of Generation One were so enthusiastic about the maturity of the song and the vivid advocacy around the issues of ending indigenous disparity that we were invited to enter the ‘People’s Choice Awards’, in which we received over 50,000 votes!!!!
So, Generation one then decided to sponsor this year’s ARIA Awards, and part of the sponsorship package was to invite Toby Finlayson from Desert Pea Media down to Sydney to direct a show with 7 young people from Collarenebri to perform ‘Close That Gap’ on stage in the forecourt of The Sydney Opera House, in front of the biggest & the best of Australia’s music artists and an audience 10,000 strong.
We spent 7 days at The National Centre Of Indigenous Excellence in Redfern rehearsing the performance, supported by Generation One and breakdancers from ‘Pulse’ Dance Crew.
The kids performed on Sunday November 7th to a packed crowd and absolutely nailed it…!!!
For some of them, it was the first time ever in Sydney, the first time on a train, the first time to the beach and an experience they will never, ever forget.
Toby Finlayson from DPM produced a short clip of the live performance and rehearsal. Please watch and comment and send to your friends.
The track has been entered in Triple J’s Unearthed Competition, and voting opens in the next few days, once the track has been approved… Keep checking in, place your vote and tell your friends…
A huge thankyou to Roslyn McGregor, Adrian King, Janet Mason and Peter Baum from Collarenebri Central School for making this possible.
Change is everybody’s responsibility. Change waits for nobody.
Check some photos-
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