Armidale audiences can enjoy a free concert of African, Asian, and Australian music traditional and new to mark Refugee Week.
Five talented musicians - three of them former refugees - will bring their "Homelands" concert to NECOM on Wednesday evening.
It's all about cross-cultural communication, Sudanese singer Yasmin Ibrahim Mohamed explains. Coming together fosters respect among people.
"It's important people can [learn] not just to be tolerant of each other, but to understand their different experiences," Ugandan hip hop artist Kween G agreed.
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The two Sydney-based singers are touring Queensland and northern NSW with Tibetan former refugee and dranyen player Tenzin Choegyal, guitarist Marcello Milani, and tabla player Shen Flindell (Brisbane band Tibet2Timbuk2).
"New places, new people, new music, and culture across the border!" Yasmin said.
The musicians started in Logan, south of Brisbane, on Saturday, and finish at the New Beginnings refugee and migrant festival in Sydney this weekend.
Settlement Services International will present the concert in partnership with Queensland's Access Community Services and the Brisbane Multicultural Arts Centre. SSI have helped Armidale's Ezidi community settle into Australia since early last year.
Kween G arrived in Australia when her father was granted asylum. Watching Queen Latifa and Lauryn Hill on MTV and MC Trey, Emprezz, and Maya Jupiter inspired her to become a hip-hop artist.
"Hip hop is very similar to African cultures, where we gather, we improvise, we play drums, we freestyle, we dance," she said. "For me, it was the form that I connected with the most in Australia. It's very much about community, sharing stories, and speaking of the times we're in."
Yasmin came to Australia in 2005, and started performing that year. She writes her songs - many about politics or social change - in her own language, but words, she believes, are not a barrier. "The power in the music can inspire emotions and thoughts in the listeners' minds," she said.
This is the first time the singers have worked together - although they have watched each other perform at Sydney's Africultures Festival. They are excited to collaborate with the Brisbane musicians on an improvisational work each evening.
Before the Armidale concert, the musicians will hold a workshop with the audience.
"We share our stories and experiences about the music, memories, rhythms, and instruments," Yasmin said. "It's also a time to exchange with the audience. We look forward to hearing their perspectives about different cultures and their heritage."
"Not everybody who comes from Africa has the same refugee experience," Kween G said. "We all have reasons why we've travelled here. It's important to find love and unity, particularly since we're on Indigenous land, where they are still voiceless in their own land."
Local musicians Massiel Barros-Torning and Peter Georkas will open the concert.
"Homelands: Music making our world", New England Conservatorium of Music, Wednesday, June 19, workshop 5pm; live performance 7.30pm. Free; book online: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/homelands-tour-2019-armidale-nsw-tickets-62187061174.