Four months since the release of his first single with the Music in Exile label, and four years since arriving in Melbourne and battling with the everyday struggles of settlement in a foreign country, South Sudanese legend and Melbourne’s adopted son Gordon Koang has released his latest offering.
‘Stand Up (Clap Your Hands)’ is a favourite from Koang’s live performances, an invitation to the audience to get up and strut their stuff. He comments on the ‘seriousness’ of music in his adopted country, asking listeners to ‘show us your style, give us your attention’, to dance with their loved ones and feel the message of his music; namely – peace, love and unity. The song revolves around the classic line ‘I love you, audience’, delivered in Gordon’s heart winning style.
The track is followed almost immediately by a song of a very different nature, and yet just as inspiring. ‘Asylum Seeker’ is Gordon’s tribute to asylum seekers in Australia – praising their courage and asking them to have patience in the long wait for permanent residency status in Australia. In a message published with the release of this new single, Gordon expresses confidence in the Australian government to help asylum seekers by granting their residency. We hope his message will be heard.
Finally, Gordon’s two latest offerings are backed on the B-side by ‘South Sudan’, an 8-minute epic that demonstrates Gordon’s joy at playing with his new band. It’s an incredibly upbeat song in the style of Gordon’s homeland and sung in his native Neur language. The messages contained within the track are classic Koang style, encouraging peace amongst his people and asking them to remember how to live, laugh and love.
This work was recorded in early 2019 at the Music in Exile studio, a cramped room behind a piano shop in Melbourne, Australia. It was recorded to tape by Stefan Blair and James Mannix. Generous amounts of talent and time were donated by Paul Ceraso and Gordon’s cousin and fellow asylum seeker, Paul Biel, who both play on the record. The tracks were then mixed and mastered with the generous help of John Lee at Phaedra Studios, Coburg.
Music in Exile is a not-for-profit initiative aimed at increasing access to resources and building professional networks for asylum seekers and refugees in Australia.