Sunday, 5 January 2014

Greetings and welcome to 2014! It's going to be a big year for the Hidden History Project. I would like to announce the first round of very special guest artists that I will be collaborating and recording with this year for the 10 Hidden History songs: Shane Howard, Amy Saunders, William Barton, Sam Wagan Watson, and international guest the amazing Bela Fleck, and there will be a couple more folks to be announced later in the year. An absolute honour to work with all of you.

Below are my first round of tour dates for the preview shows. To pre-book tickets for the debut Sydney show at the Camelot Lounge, please visit Sticky Tickets


Friday, 13 December 2013

Farewell 2013


Ahhhhh... where to begin!! Last night I arrived home from my two month tour with 4 new songs and some very special memories tucked away in my saddle bags. It has been a hugely transformative year, and I end it with a big smile, a little more wisdom... and lot more swearing and rum/bourbon drinking, mainly thanks to my visit to north QLD. Impossible to fit all the adventures in here. I guess that is what the book is for. But here are some highlights!

In the last few months of travel I had the great honour of sharing a tour with the amazing Shane Howard (Goanna), during which time we made ourselves a new song. It's called "Wild Rivers" and was given life at the junction of the Murray and Darling Rivers on Barkindji country, at the amazing Yapara Festival. I also got to sing in concert with my big hero Amy Saunders from Tiddas. A dream come true.



I met up with my dear friend, one of the writers from Juice Media Rap News, and together we travelled back out to Coranderrk Station to meet with Aunty Joy on Wurundjeri country, to share with her the song I have written about her ancesor, William Barak, called "Ninety Miles". I played it for her and her family sitting on the grass in front of the old homestead. Was a magical experience, one that I will never forget. This moment really encapsulates what songwriting is all about for me; giving voice to the connections we feel with those who walk this life with us, and the connections we have with the country that hosts us.

Following on from that I ran my guitar mentorship program in Port Augusta. One of my students is a real stand out. A year ago I was teaching him how to put down a C chord. Now he's carving up modes and improvisation like a total mofo. I spent two weeks out here and we had a lesson almost every
day, and he is just so wonderful I have asked him to guest on the Hidden History recording next year. We are all very excited to have him join our team as we continue singing up the spirit of the land and sharing these powerful stories.

Ok, so ill keep the rest snappy! Book going well, songwriting going well, some AMAZING guests for Hidden History recording, including someone who has won 13 grammy awards, but I'll announce all that in detail next year.

First round of preview show tour dates for early next year are:
25th Jan Zamia Theatre Mt. Tamborine (Yugambeh Country)
Feb 1st Newcastle-Huntervalley Folk Club (Awabakal Country)
Feb 9th Camelot Lounge Sydney (Eora Country)
15th March Coranderrk Festival (Wurundjeri Country)

If you live in Sydney please PLEASE come along to the show at the Camelot
lounge, and tell all your friends :) It's my debut solo show and I am
rather anxious to make it a good one. To book tickets just follow this
link:
http://www.stickytickets.com.au/14531/alesa_lajana_%40_camelot_lounge.aspx

On a personal note, I have to say, it's really hard hearing about the things that have happened in this country. It breaks my heart over and over again. Transmuting that pain into music that can be taken in by a wide variety of people can be really difficult for me. It takes so much dedication and hard work. I have to open for the story completely so I can write, but not loose myself. So, extra special thanks and immense gratitude to all my beautiful mates out there who have taken the edge off it all by just being joyous and silly with me, or putting up with random texts and messages and collaborating in the art. There was one day on this trip where I spent an entire afternoon talking about a massacre, and after that I rang a friend just to bring me back. Being able to connect with someone who connects you to home can be a real lifesaver. Some of you will know who you are, and i don't know WHAT I would do without you all :) What a way to end this 2 month tour. I even spent my 30th birthday on the road, and thanks to the warm hospitality of friends in Mildura, I had a really awesome time celebrating. Love you guys so much! On behalf of Whiskey and i, we send IMMENSE gratitude to everyone we shared music, stories, country, and laughter with on this trip. Can't wait to see you all in the new year. The next two years leading into the release are going to be HUGE.

Much much love
Alesa and Whiskey
Xxx

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Production Phase

Hello fine folks, well as much as I wanted the research phase to last forever, the Hidden History Album Project has officially entered into the production phase. We have now removed the two songs previously listed on the website in order to maintain our production values. We invite you to stay connected here or via the blog for the latest on the last remaining preview shows, and diary updates regarding collaborations and special guests that are contributing to the album. Thank you so much for your continued support. Means the world to all of us involved. xxx Thank you Helen Kassila for this photo.



Thursday, 5 September 2013

Queensland Writers Magazine Blunder

DISCLAIMER: Seems the Queensland Writers Centre Magazine decided it was ok to take the feature article that they paid me to write, in first person (as per their request), about my project, and replace 'First Nation' people with 'Aborigines', because it better matched their style guide. It's not the 1800's anymore QWC. A very disappointing display editorial license. I saw this article as a wonderful opportunity to set a precedent for using more respectful language in that department, and i am really disappointed that this change to my words was made without me being consulted. In doing so, they have not only misrepresented me (bearing in mind it was written in first person!) to an audience of over 10,000 subscribers, but have also disrespected the many years of work I have put into this project, and potentially hurt my relationships with community. I would like to apologise if the use of the term in question (which was added without my knowledge or consultation) caused offence to anyone that read the article. 

After posting complaints via various social media sites, and with much support from colleagues in the writing industry, the QWCM was quick to address the issue. The CEO of the QWCM has flagged a review of the style protocols and is organising a staff workshop to address the issue. It is a shame things unfolded this way, but it seems some positive change will result, which in the end is a good outcome. Just a pity that it was my name that had to pioneer those rough seas. 

TO BE PRINTED BY THE EDITOR OF QWCM IN OCTOBER'S EDITION:
"In the September issue of WQ, in and article by Alesa Lajana, I changed without consulting her the term First Nation to Aborigines in keeping with Australian style guides for referring to Indigenous issues. Alesa has pointed out that this was not an appropriate change within the context of her article, and I sincerely apologise to her for any offence or embarrassment this editing change caused. As a part of QWC's commitment to continue to learn and improve in our intercultural communication, changes will be made to our style protocols regarding Indigenous issues. "