• Jeremy Marou's family residence on Mer (Supplied)
Torres Strait Islander musicians Marou and Busby use trip home to highlight the real impact of climate crisis on the region.
By
Aaron Smith

Source:
NITV News
5 Jul 2019 - 7:48 AM  UPDATED 5 Jul 2019 - 10:37 AM

Torres Strait Islander and Meriam musician Jeremy Marou, of the acclaimed duo Marou and Busby, said the region is already being impacted by the effects of climate crisis.

Marou, who was joined by his musical partner Tom Busby on a visit to Mer recently, said he first became aware of the seriousness of the issue when he sat on the panel of the inaugural First Nations Summit on Climate Change last month.

The panel was part of Queensland's first-ever Climate Week and World Environment Day.

“There's probably a 50-50 split to whether people think climate change is real, but what I do know is that this is something affecting the islands now, and while there are no right or wrong answers, something needs to get done quickly around this,” Mr Marou told NITV news.

“It wasn't until I started listening to some of the stories that it really hit home."

Marou, who hadn't been back to Mer for more than a decade, said Torres Strait Islanders faced the very real prospect of becoming some of the world's first climate crisis refugees in the next five to 10 years.

"Everyone up in the islands talk about it, even on Murray Island which is not so much affected... everyone is talking about how bad it is," said Mr Busby.

“It's just amazing how naive the rest of the country is around climate change and how climate change is actually affecting Torres Strait Islanders right now.

“The government have been doing geo-textile bags and building levies, but we need a lot more money thrown at the problem if we are going to save some of these areas,” he said.

As well as hearing from community about the impacts of climate change, Marou and Busby also used used the trip home to record some ambient sounds and traditional music.

Traditional chorus singing will be included on the song Naba Morem from the duo's upcoming album, The Great Divide.

Mr Marou said the song explores his family's migration to Rockhampton looking for a more prosperous life.

“My dad, like so many Torres Strait Islander men, moved away from the region to make a new life for his family because obviously there are a lot more opportunities down south.

“We decided it would be great to come back to Mer and record some traditional singing so we went up to the primary school and recorded the kids singing some of the parts which was great - we got them on the shakers and the drums as well,” he said.

“We also recorded sounds of the waves, which we put into all the other songs in the album, so when you listen to it you would hardly even notice it's there in the background. It's very subconscious – we wanted to add a layer that was more than just a really produced studio album.”

The Mer recording session also incorporated a traditional warup drum named, Wasikor, that has been in Marou's family for generations.

“It's one of the oldest and most sacred artefacts on Mer, if not the whole Torres Strait.”

The new album, The Great Divide, will be released on 27 September. It delves deeper into the lives of Marou and Busby and their coming of age, who are both now in their mid-thirties and with families.

“It's about growing up, our career has taken us from being single to now being with lots of children, so the songs are less about life on the road and more about families and becoming a role model for our kids."

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