YIRRAMBOI: Blak Sound - May 2019. Photos: Jacinta Keefe


YIRRAMBOI: Blak Sound - May 2019. Photos: Sianne van Abkoude

Blak Sound 2019

The power of First Peoples carrying song in the now is a story of resilience. It is a story of Blak survival. It is a story of sound that has always been expressed through this land. It is a story of sound that has in one form or another been expressed through peoples of this land. First Peoples voices have always been present. Now in 2019, 230 years since the beginning of colonisation, First Peoples of this land are bringing these sounds to audiences with a power and purpose that uniquely resonates with 60,000 plus years of history. Blak Sound is 60,000 plus years of song in the now, embodied in a diverse array of emerging First Peoples sound and song carriers.  

Blak Sound is a program designed to realise the vision of more First Peoples, building sustainable contemporary music careers in Victoria. The program is presented and supported by VMDO First Peoples, City of Melbourne and Spotify and will focus on the release of recorded music, as part of an overall strategic approach to a career in contemporary music.

Across a nine-month program, five participants will release music into the world and be guided to achieve maximum impact with the release, as well as the learnings that will accompany this process to assist them into the future. Blak Sound will utilise a range of mechanisms, including master classes, mentoring and hands-on learning, to identify and deliver strategy and assets as well as further understanding of recording and release options, requirements, marketing and promotion, rights management and finances. As a First Peoples specific program, a strong underpinning of First Peoples’ cultural considerations will be built into the project to ensure support of artists from a cultural perspective is considered and underpins the project to ensure that the following goals are achieved.

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  1. Strategy for participants’ short and long term career goals

  2. Visibility of participating artists/audience development

  3. Music business skills/experience (self-managed artists)

  4. Connections and insight into Spotify through partnership with Spotify

  5. Participant preparation to be ambassadors in community to help others get more out of their music careers

  6. Cultural and community connectivity; linking developing artists to cultural support and music pathways to community


The 2019 edition of Blak Sound will cover a period of 9-months, timed to coincide with a start at YIRRAMBOI in May 2019 and conclude in November 2019.


  • Victorian Music Development Office

  • City of Melbourne

  • Spotify


Throughout the nine month program, monthly music business master classes will be presented by industry experts and cover topics such as:

  • Strategy and timelines

  • Recorded music distribution (signing vs independent), A&R and production (mix/master)

  • Audience Development; the importance of live as part of the plan

  • Finances: budgets, costs and income (including grants and APRA and PPCA)

  • PR and Marketing; bios, photos, servicing press, radio and playlists

  • Getting the most out of social media

  • Ongoing Audience Development; data and what to do with it

Mentors will be paired in collaboration with participants, once selected.


Applications open: Friday 29 March, 2019

Applications close: Thursday 18 April, 2019 at 11.59pm (extended from original Wednesday 17 April deadline)

Participants announced: Wednesday 24 April, 2019

Performance opportunity for participants: YIRRAMBOI Weelam – Wednesday 8 May, 2019

For further information, please contact us at info@vmdo.com.au

2019 Participants


Allara Briggs Pattison 

Allara Briggs Pattison, is a Yorta Yorta woman who has an enchanting glow when she performs, always gracing the stage with a passionate grin from ear to ear. Her range of skills playing on both upright and standard bass compliment each other. Her ears have grown large from playing in a variety of different styles including neo-soul, jazz, country, folk and Irish Trad to name a few.

Since the beginging of 2018, Allara's has been working on a solo project. Equipped with a loop station, electric bass, double bass and bright spirit, she pulls bow across strings to resonate dark frequencies forming emotive compositions. With orchestral harmonies mixed with electronic beats and traditional clap sticks, her sound is unique. Inspired by hip hop, soul, blues and reggae Allara is developing a storytelling nature taking the listener on a journey reflected by her passion's while encouraging cultural, spiritual and environmental empowerment.

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Crystal Clyne

Crystal Clyne (Lady Lash) combines equal parts Jazz and Hip Hop interwoven with Powerful Spiritual Storytelling, her music pushes sonic boundaries in profoundly beautiful ways.  

Thinking deep into the reflective eye, bringing a universal state of mind. Lady Lash has life stories with introspective thoughts and cryptic rap riddles which are rarely all completely absorbed in the first listen. The soulful lyricist has grind ethics towards hip hop and has spent many years hustling her skilful flow for crowds. The spiritual insight Lash brings to her music is that of a strong Kokatha/Greek Woman from the West Coast of South Australia. Supporting amazing artist over years and receiving numerous music awards, her positive jazz melodies infused with sultry rhymes bring an essence of modern street poetry.

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Amy Dowd

Amy Dowd is a Noongar woman newly delving into the sights of a solo project. Known as the captivating front-woman for Melbourne's soul/groove outfit, 'Squid Nebula, Bumpy is an escape and outlet for all the things crawling inside her mind, while exploring the lengths of her own independent artistry. 

Thematically uncovering her truths as a First Nations artist, layers of lush melodies while delivering it with her hypnotic vocal quality, Bumpy invites you into her world of vulnerability and sensitivity. 

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Diimpa - William Elm

William Elm is a multi-instrumentalist, avant-composer & music wunderkind. He draws on his experiences as a queer autistic aboriginal murri man to effortlessly create worlds of sound and musical journey. Armed with accordion, analogue synthesisers and keyboard instruments (like piano, wurlitzer, music box, glockenspiel, toy piano), William is influenced by the creators of the minimalist movement - including La Monte Young, Terry Riley, and Pauline Oliveros. Through these elements William Elm carves out his own brand of contemporary Australian minimalism. Filled with pulsating moments or ambient soundscapes his music is, at its heart, transcendental.

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Pirritu - Brett Lee

Ngiyampaa man Pirritu’s (Brett Lee) music is gentle, intricate and highly melodic with beautifully framed chords overlaid with a story of sadness and hope.

With his layback and structured approach to music, Brett's story telling matched with the natural and earthy tone of his voice makes you feel like a Rainbow Lorikeet in a Wattle Tree. His sound comes from listening to folk and acoustic surf music with hints of country hidden between the lines. His writing is honest and personal and set against a sound scape that goes from sunny and toe tapping to a rainy sadness felt by a lonely lover on a Sunday. His music often celebrates the love he has for his family and the people close to him.

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