Alesa Lajana album




laj-resThis was eight years in the making, with Alesa Lajana wandering Australia, researching post-invasion interaction between blacks and whites. The lunar right and their shrill apologists will hate it. They prefer using terms like “black armband view of history” to sweep away inconvenient truths about atrocities. Despite the depth of her research (partially contained in an accompanying hard-cover booklet), Lajana’s songs are neither academic nor judgemental, and nor are they bald narratives. Mostly slow and lean, they are fleshed out with metaphors.

Her wistful voice is primarily accompanied by her own guitar or banjo, with guest appearances by artists including the great Bela Fleck, Julian Curwin, Luke Moller and Kirk Lorange. The title track, gentle and gospel-tinged, centres on the Hornet Bank Station Massacre (committed by blacks; paid out 10-fold by whites) in 1857. Raiding the Tide is penned from the perspective of a First Nation female pearl diver off Broome – a vocation akin to being a slave. Some less confronting material leavens the album.