Nattali RIZE…“Stop supplying the bullets to a bad situation!”
“Make way for the Righteous Ones, they nah shoot you with no bullet just a lick from the tongue ay.”
Samoan Australian, Natalie PA’APPA’A and Blue King Brown bassist Carlo Santone, used to busk on the streets of Mullum and Byron, then Sydney, before moving further south to call Melbourne home. With Blue King Brown they have travelled the globe playing with such acts as Carlos Santana and Gurrumul Yunupingu. Natalie’s broadcasting of human rights, and support of the ‘Free West Papua Campaign’- has been honourable. They are very popular at the Byron Blues & Roots Festival where they get to drop in and feel at home. This is a very social-environmentally conscious region. In fact, within Australia, northern NSW has the highest number per capita of those withholding Environmental Science degrees, and out in what is often considered ‘space-cadet’ ground zero- the Nimbin region, per capita there are more folk with Uni degrees than anywhere else in Oz! So, when BKB visit and light the stage alive, people come and pay attention, they get it!
The Aussie Queen of Groove-n-Reggae Roots- Ms Pa’appa’a- AKA Nattali Rize, has been working in collaboration with Jamaican outfit ‘NOTIS’. She has been recording over in Kingston and has also brought NOTIS to our shores, where they will play a string of festivals around Oz this summer, including the Woodford Festival in SE Qld. Well, Nattali and BKB certainly live up to their ‘Conscious Culture’ tag, where recently they all played at the Indigenous community of Yarrabah, 40 km out from Cairns in Far North Qld. I ran into Nattali and Carlo in Byron Bay two years ago and we got chatting about Nattali’s time in the Tanami Desert working with Indigenous students in schools there, and my time teaching in Darwin with the family Yunupingu and Marika, who are known to BKB of course.
I wrote a music review titled: ‘Two Women of Two Babylons’- about Blue King Brown’s most recent album ‘Born Free’, and it travelled the globe. It also featured a review on Kingston’s Terry Lynn, and my ol’ pal Tony-2tone-Walton’s Darwin SKA outfit ‘The Cyclones’.
I described BKB as: “More than an outfit, more than a band; they are a tangible, living-breathing-community workshop, at one with the street.”… Nattali sent me a message upon receiving my review describing how she was …
“…ever grateful our music connects with people in a positive way. Music is a healer, a messenger, a fighter and a rebel….thanks for hearing it!”
At festivals, Nattali will get the whole crowd to raise their arms high in solidarity with the folk of Papua. She has inspired me too. Though I have written ACTIVISM stories on Borneo and the Mekong, which have travelled globally, and my Sarawak story was on BKB’s website for a few years too, I thought it time to ‘step-up’ and pen a West Papuan essay in relation to how international business transactions between the US, Australia and Indonesia will further stall any sense of autonomy for the Indigenous peoples of Papua.
“I reckon Blue King Brown, particularly Nattali’s sexy, soul-reaching messages, influence the lives of many.”