Mission Songs Project faithfully explores the musical journey of Indigenous Australian music as Jessie Lloyd connects the traditional with contemporary, revealing the continuation of cultural practice and song traditions into the 21st Century.
Mission Songs Project performance is inspired by Indigenous singing and song traditions. The vocal quartet is made up of some of Australia’s finest Indigenous vocalists, presenting a rarely public performance styles and narratives found in Indigenous communities, such as family gatherings, social events and yarns over a cuppa. Story-telling is a major component of the performance as it gives historical context and moving personal experiences into the tunes sung from the mission days, making the show warm, humorous and heartfelt.
Banned from practicing their own cultural traditions, it also provides an insight into the way Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people adapted modern western music traditions and instruments for their own continued use to connect, tell and share their stories.
Highlights: A composer, performer and creative entrepreneur, Jessie Lloyd is a cultural practitioner of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander music who is dedicated to the continuation of song traditions through the presentation of stories and song. Her mission is to produce, perform and progress Australian Indigenous music through innovative concepts, collaborative projects and cultural practice. Maintaining an authenticity that contributes to the rich diversity of Australian arts and its audiences, and working towards positive and progressive social opportunities, values and attitudes.
Jessie Lloyd – Music Director/Vocalist/Guitarist
Emma Donovan – Vocalist
Deline Briscoe – Vocalist
Jessica Hitchcock – Vocalist
National Folk Festival, April 2017 Rhythms magazine: “Stand-out artists of the Festival included National Folk Fellow Jessie Lloyd for her Mission Songs Project who, with a line-up of top Indigenous artists, presented a rare collection of early Australian Indigenous contemporary songs that were performed on missions and settlements. All Jessie’s shows were packed out.”
Port Fairy Folk Festival, March 2017 Chris Lambie, Rhythms magazine: “Daughter of Joe Geia, Jessie Lloyd, travelled the nation to talk with elders for The Mission Songs Project. ‘The Songs Back Home’ is a collection of Indigenous folk songs performed on Christian missions, settlements and native camps from 1900-1999. Not a moment too soon, Lloyd has revived these unique songlines before they’re lost forever. The warm and articulate performer shared the lead on family yarns and glorious harmonies with Emma Donovan, Deline Briscoe and Jessica Hitchcock.”
Blue Mountains Music Festival, March 2017 Elizabeth Walton, Timber & Steel: “The Mission Songs Project brings new life to the voices of the stolen generation and indigenous Australians who were splintered from their cultures when they were made to sing in a foreign language. Today, traditional languages are so far removed from their vernacular that singing in English has become the mainstay, the local languages have become the foreign tongue. Yet everything has its resurgence if you can claim it before it achieves vanishing point. The stories are heartfelt and beautifully sung – perhaps not with the campfire instruments of their natural settings, but the end result is one that adapts well to the contemporary stage and travels to a diverse and broad audience – for The Mission Songs Project, this is mission accomplished, and accomplished incredibly well.”