The Merindas Celebrate Indigenous Culture As Part Of Blak Social

The Merindas.
National Music Editor, based in Brisbane, Australia.
'Passionate about true crime docos, the Swannies, golf and sleep, I’ve been writing about music for 20-plus years. What I’ve learnt? There’s two types of music – good and bad.’

The Merindas are the collective force of Ballardong Whadjuk and Nyoongar woman Kristel Kickett (from Tammin, WA) and Candice Lorrae of Jawoyn and Thursday Island heritage (born in Darwin, NT).

Based in Melbourne, these soul sisters are trailblazing their innovative style of Indigenous music that blends dance, pop, electronic and hip hop sounds.

The Merindas are part of Horizon Festival's Blak Social video showcase, which celebrates the cultural resurgence of Indigenous people. From dance tunes to mesmerising movement, to heart-stopping melodics, Blak Social is a celebration of Indigenous artists and the future they create.

Alongside The Merindas, the event also features Diimpa (Melbourne), Elisapie (Canada), Katina Olsen (Sydney/ Sunshine Coast), and Paula Delaney-Nazarski (Brisbane).

Firstly, trust you are both well given Melbourne’s current plight?
We’re doing ok.

How are you keeping your spirits high and creative ideas flowing?
Kristel: I’ve been doing personal training and keeping active. I also just got myself a small studio set-up in my bedroom.
Candice: Being isolated has worked well in my favour. I’ve built up my home studio and have been working on my music production skills. So yeah, having a project has helped.

What’s the #1 tip to staying relatively sane during a pandemic?
Lots of self love if you know what we mean, hahaha! Also, keeping in touch with family and involving ourselves in community Zoom meetings. Staying connected.

Those new to the sounds of The Merindas, how would you describe the musical vibe, styling of the group?
It’s electric/ pop and upbeat. We've been in the party phase of our career and it's shone through in our music. Keeping our traditional roots is also important, incorporating our language and stories throughout.

You are performing virtually as part of Blak Social for Horizon Festival… even though it’s a video show, it must have been utter joy to film a live set given the issues of 2020?
It was so much fun having the job to dance and sing in our own living room. As we mentioned in the show, we felt like we were little girls again playing dress ups and performing to family. Pretty much ended up where we started. It was a joy to film and edit.

Being part of a showcase celebrating Indigenous peoples and culture, I imagine it’s an extremely important event (event more so given BLM) to continue promoting First Nations to the wider Australian public?
We are so lucky.

There’s so much First Nations talent on the rise and it's important that the industry expands the opportunities for all us blak artists. There have been so many unrecognised blak artists, but with these empowering movements, our talent and resilience are starting to take the world stage.

Blak Social is a virtual free showcase so anyone can tune in… aside from the music, other reasons people should engage with Blak Social?
It’s a great way of connecting with mob through music and strengthening our First Nations music community. It’s also bridging our worlds together through social media to strengthen our entire community for reconciliation.

New material from The Merindas; what’s the state of play on that front?
We’re still working on it and planning on taking our music to a new depth. But this will come when we find it.

Since your debut performance at the launch of ‘The Sapphires’ film back in 2012, you must’ve had some grand adventures. What are some of the highlights?
Kristel: Our album release has been the newest highlight, also supporting Brandy and Craig David.
Candice: Relocating to Melbourne and playing Bigsound 2018 has been my biggest highlight with The Merindas.

Any new hobbies, skills you’ve picked up while in iso?
Candice: I’ve gone right into video and music production to look at creating more content for The Merindas. I’m also great at cooking and managing a good keto diet.
Kristel: I’ve become really good at healthy food preparing and exercise routines I thought I could never do.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you Horizon Festival and Blak Social for this opportunity.

Blak Social is a free video event that takes place Saturday 22 August at 7pm EST. For more information, click here.

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