It’s the very first time the landmark annual celebration of First culture will move to the Opera House Forecourt, a feat that Sydney Opera House Head of First Nations programming, Rhoda Roberts AO, says is symbolic for all Australians.
“Homeground is big, free and for everyone. It celebrates First Nations artists from Australia and around the world, and the vibrancy and rich history of their cultures,” Ms Roberts said.
“For thousands of years, Tubowgule – the land on which the Opera House stands – has been a place of gathering and ceremony. Homeground continues these traditions through the power of performance, cultural knowledge exchange and art.”
First Nations Music
Headlining this year’s music line-up is ARIA Hall of Fame inductees, Yothu Yindi & The Treaty Project reforming to mark the 25th anniversary of the release of global chart topper ‘Treaty’ (Filthy Lucre Remix). Founding members Witiyana Marika, Stuart Kellaway and Kevin Marlangay will be joined by the next generation of Indigenous performers to create new songlines, including Yirrmal, grandson of Dr Yunupingu and Yirrnga, Yunupingu clan member, who will perform classic tracks and new material, all with an electronic twist.
The first Hip Hop act to emerge from Thursday Island in the Torres Strait, Mau Power who stormed the airwaves with his politically motivated anthem ‘Freedom’ featuring Archie Roach. His recent single ‘Koiki’ was a musical tribute to Eddie 'Koiki' Mabo, released on the 25th anniversary of the High Court’s landmark Mabo decision. He'll be joined by special guest Radical Son.
ARIA-nominated Airileke Ingram brings rising music stars from West Papua and PNG together together for Sorong Samarai, blending hip-hop production with fierce log drumming, fresh new styles of urban West Papuan dance and samples from the frontline of the Free Papua Movement.
Contemporary folk singer Irish Mythen delivers her rousing live show that combines contemporary and catchy folk anthems and traditional tunes that reference her proud Celtic heritage.
Tibetan singer-songwriter Tenzin Choegyal performs original compositions that uniquely express his cultural lineage and the contemporary challenges faced by Tibetan people. He’ll be joined by two Tibetan monks to create an intricate, colourful sand mandala.
Kahl Wallis, lead singer-songwriter for indie/alternative band The Medics will debut solo acoustic music that blends storytelling with environmental and social activism.
Described as ‘Daft Punk meets Nina Simone in a deep forest’, Electric Fields are two feminine brothers who bring a unique blend of ancient Anangu culture, modern electronica and soul to the Forecourt for late-night dancing.
First Nations Dance
More than 260 dancers are expected to take part in this year’s Dance Rites - Australia’s national Indigenous dance competition - a much needed gathering and the community highlight of the program.
Showcasing the language, dance movements, instruments and skin markings of their communities in a specially-made harbourside sand circle, Dance Rites participants share knowledge between generations and communities to reignite ancient cultural practices.
Dance Rites this year will see performers from the Djaadjawan dance group unite as strong, proud women for one of Australia's biggest First Nations dance competitions.
Muggera, of ‘Move it Mob Style’ fame, perform as part of the mainstage dance line-up. They’re joined by Polenesian group Rako Pasefika; New Zealand haka dancers Lawrence and Kemare; and Malu Kiai Mura Buai Dance Troupe, hailing from Boigu Island in the Torres Strait.
First Nations Film
For the first time Homeground is partnering with Winda Film Festival to screen a special Indigenous shorts program, showcasing First Nations filmmakers from around the world in a temporary Yurt.
The Te Kopere Healers dispense Rongoā – a traditional Māori system of herbal remedies, physical therapies and spiritual healing – which draws on orally transmitted knowledge and the spiritual dimension of health.
First Nations Art
Badu Gili – a spectacular seven-minute projection featuring artwork by five prominent First Nations artists, will illuminate the Opera House’s eastern Bennelong sail at sunset.
The immersive Homeground program also includes a Black Arts Market, tours revealing Bennelong’s story, food and beverage items incorporating native Australian ingredients and interactive weaving workshops for all ages.