• Aboriginal and South Sea Islander musician set to raise funds for his hometown of Bowen hit by Cyclone Debbie. (NITV News)
In response to Cyclone Debbie, Indigenous musician Marcus Corowa is using his show to raise funds to help rebuild his hometown in Bowen.
By
Laura Morelli

6 Apr 2017 - 1:14 PM  UPDATED 6 Apr 2017 - 1:25 PM
“Looking outside my window, I can see buildings destroyed, businesses damaged, flood water everywhere. You have no idea what it’s like living without power and water for so long. The people in Bowen are overwhelmed, depressed and don’t know what to do.” – Local resident.

One of Australia’s brightest emerging entertainers, Marcus Corowa thinks back to memories of his childhood spent in his hometown of Bowen.

“That’s where I grew up. It was a great community where everyone helped each other out all the time. It was small, but for me there was a big population of Aboriginal and South Sea Islander heritage peoples that I would spend time with,” he said. 

“I know what it’s like to be forced to leave your home in a panic and your precious belongings behind.”

It was a place filled with music, where I learnt songs, played guitar and of course I remember spending time exploring the outdoors, fishing on the Don river and going to the local shops to buy groceries.

But now that’s all changed. 

North Queensland has been ravaged by Cyclone Debbie and entire communities

have lost their homes, their livelihoods, and sadly, some have even lost their lives.

Locals of Marcus’ hometown have described Bowen as a tragic mess, with roofs ripped from dwellings, walls torn from houses and a trail of destruction left behind.

The musician and actor remembers the fear caused when his family would be suddenly evacuated from the odd cyclone.

“I know what it’s like to be forced to leave your home in a panic and your precious belongings behind.”

But he says Cyclone Debbie has been the worst to hit home by far. 

“I remember watching the news and seeing vision of my hometown in ruins. I was in shock,” he said. 

“My great aunt lives there and had to be evacuated in the middle of the night, all of a sudden she had to get up and leave her life behind and that’s difficult for anyone, but for a lady that is quite old and confused it’s heartbreaking.” 

“Even though Marcus has moved on and is living his life elsewhere, his roots still lie in Bowen, he is still working to help his hometown and support the people who need it most after the cyclone."

In response to the disaster, Marcus has decided to help rebuild not only Bowen’s community but also their spirit in a desperate time of need. All profits from his show “Just The Two of Us: Songs of Bill Withers by Marcus Corowa” at The Brass Monkey on Thursday 13 April will be donated to Bowen Neighbourhood Centre, who will contribute towards the dignity, well-being and quality of life of the communities they support.

“The town has been hit pretty hard so I wanted to do this to help my community back home. I really admire the work the Bowen Neighbourhood Centre does for the community.” 

Marcus posted this video to his Facebook page saying: 'As I have been feeling for all my family and friends back home in Bowen and Queensland I was inspired to write something. But instead of doing something completely new I added another part to Karmon Power's song about Cyclone Debbie. Stay safe and Big Love family'.

Bowen Neighbourhood Centre says it’s rewarding to see the Bowen boy show his roots by supporting his hometown.

“It’s amazing that even though Marcus has moved on and is living his life elsewhere, his roots still lie in Bowen, he is still working to help his hometown and support the people who need it most after the cyclone,” A Bowen Neighbourhood Centre staff member said. 

 
 
 

“It will make a huge difference for our community. They really need all the help they can get right now.” 

Raised in Bowen in North Queensland and now residing in Sydney, Marcus says he would support his hometown in any way he could. 

“There’s been a lot of great responses from family, friends and the local residents of Bowen. I think people are proud because I do remember Bowen, the little old community town and they’re happy that they’re remembered, especially in this time of need.” 

The singer/songwriter draws on his Aboriginal and South Sea Islander Heritage to create soulful sounds that is distinctly his own but he’s been singing Bill Withers all his life.

“This is my second tribute show for Bill Withers, there was a huge audience and the reaction was quite positive, a lot of the older generation really resonate with his timeless music so they really appreciated hearing me bring to life Bill’s music.”

Soulful melodies including Aint No Sunshine and Lean On Me have stood the test of time and last year saw Withers inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame. Marcus says these songs in particular have a very special meaning during this cause. 

“I think his music really lends to this cause. The heartfelt lyrics with those two songs suggest what the Bowen community need to do, and how everyone needs to lend a helping hand." 

With deadly beats and an even deadlier fundraising mission you can check it out here.

Tune into NITV"s Facebook page to catch Marcus Corowa talking and performing LIVE on 7 Friday April 2017.

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