"I was fed up with seeing four white dudes on stage": The message of Indigenous punk band Dispossessed


Dispossessed are an Indigenous punk metal band giving a big 'up yours' to the lack of diversity in the Australian music scene.

Birrugan Dunn-Velasco is the 19-year-old front man, with band members from the Indigenous peoples of Ghana, Australia and Chile.

Their unique sound is just another front in their fight for Indigenous rights, something Birrugan says he took "upon himself" to make a positive thing.

"I wanted to make it an outlet where I could move these negative emotions that I feel as a young black man and transfer them into something beneficial and beautiful for all," he says.

"I've always loved playing guitar since I was 10 and it has been my only lifeline and my only reason to live, many times.

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"This band has been too. When we started it, I was crazy - I was in a bad way.

"This was all I had to live for. Being homeless and squatting, just in this sort of mad fury and fire, that's when the band formed."

During their gigs, the band have a very controversial way of acknowledging country yet it's something that Birrugan says is an essential part of their message.

"People do acknowledgments, it's often done in a very tokenistic and extractive manner.

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"It's about getting across to those fellas that have come to see us to understand whose land they're walking upon and what happened to those people."

Having spoken critically about the lack of diversity in the Australian music scene, Birrugan says it was his frustration that ultimately led him to writing music and forming Dispossessed.

"This is the thing, punk and metal were started by black people.

"I was fed up with seeing four white dudes on stage singing about f**k all."

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