What's On

We Take Back Our Mother Tongues


World Premiere
Presented by Arts House

Fri 6 & Sat 7 May, 2022

3 hours

This event will commence with a Welcome to Country. 
Set times to be announced.

General Admission $20
A small transaction fee will be charged per order.

Coarse language, possible haze, intermittent loud sounds.

Event information
Standing event with optional seating. Chill out space available with ear plugs, fidgets, charging station for mobility devices.

Arts House
North Melbourne Town Hall
521 Queensberry St,
North Melbourne

Read our COVID-19 Safety Plan here.

Wheelchair Accessible

Come and experience the next creation from FAMILI, in a spellbinding evening of queer Pasifika and First Nations music, installation and connection.

Get on your feet and soak your senses in a powerful night of music, movement and mental restoration. 

FAMILI brings together 15 artists whose bloodlines hail from Pasifika, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, weaving together some of the most essential queer and Bla(c)k voices across Australia.

Featuring two DJ sets, video and visual installations, and a powerhouse live musical performance at its heart, FAMILI is a multidisciplinary storytelling project in which Oceanic artists represent their complex experiences of culture and identity in diaspora.

The threads that feed into this sonic tapestry draw on hip hop, new wave R&B, Oceanic musicality and more, driven by the powerful currents of queer and LGBTQIA+ experience. 

Neo-ancestry, mana and empowered music add alternate voices to the challenging conversations we need to have, while the practices of deep listening and oration are given new opportunities to create change in an evening that welcomes all.

Come experience FAMILI.

“Goosebumps and joy… I am forever grateful I got to witness these Pasifika creators, and celebrate with them.”
– Liminal Mag

“Famili was a success, a collective effort and an embodiment of celebration, of togetherness, sensuality, reclamation, and survival.”



Artist Statement

FAMILI began as a calling to explore queer Pasifika sounds. I was keen to express our cultural identity, our music, our traditional instrumentation, our expression, our language, our gender and sexuality, through contemporary sounds.

The aural and visual narratives traverse our diasporic experiences in so-called Australia; we are black and brown settlers navigating this space in solidarity with First Nations communities, highlighting similar experiences of colonisation and the different effects that it has had on our communities. Our connection to culture is fragmented and to some extent lost because we are here, away from our lands and waters.

FAMILI reflects who we are as a people. It is contemporary electronic music, yet we are drawing on instruments traditionally used in our music like conch shells, log drums (garamut, pate), bamboo shakers, split canes, flutes, and an incredible range of percussive and melodic instruments.

We use song structures and harmonies common to Pasifika music where there’s a lot of spiritual collective singing, and it’s different from what you’d hear in a Western religious context. There’s something sacred about people singing together, to each other, and that’s something present across most cultures.

In the first EP the artists were responding to the 4 classical elements: The element of Earth is about personal homecoming, Papua New Guinea, West Papua and the struggles my people face. We need earth to ground us, to grow our food, to sustain us.

We need fire to cook and rebirth and transform things. Fire – in our ‘Mana’ track – is about empowerment, talking back, acknowledging where we came from.

Air is about the communal breath, winds of change, challenging and talking back to any kind of oppressive system, whether it’s white supremacy or conservative cultures elders that don’t recognise or support our queer and trans identities.

Water is about the threat the Pacific Islands face to their lands through the rising sea levels. The track ‘Neck Deep’ acknowledges the consequences – and our collective grief.

- Ripley Kavara

About the Artists

Ripley Kavara
Ripley Kavara (he/them) is a transdisciplinary practitioner with a deep grounding in musical forms destined to be liberatory. He believes in the power of music as a conduit for black queer spirituality and dedicates his time to coaxing the spirits to dance. Born in Papua New Guinea and living in so-called Melbourne, he embodies an artistic practice that is generative, community based and attuned to a sense of place where he creates on Wurundjeri Country. He has worked extensively for the past six years as a musician, producer, DJ, educator, event organiser, youth worker, curator and project lead. He works to create spaces for emerging underground performers and artists, focusing on elevating underrepresented voices in music and arts.He has supported notable acts including GAIKA, Kojey Radical, Elysia Crampton, Klein, at events such as Dark Mofo and Liquid Architecture. Kavara’s work as an artist has been exhibited in Australia, New Zealand and Canada.


Creative Director: Ripley Kavara
Musical Co-Director: Bella Waru
Sound and lighting: Guy Louis Faletolu
Set Designer: Mossy 333
Artists/Performers: Lay the Mystic, Iki Finau, KALALA, Stacie Piper, Kalyani Mumtaz, Porobibi, Meleika Gesa Fatafehi, Lonelyspeck, Daisy Catterall, Paul Gorrie, Geryon
Associate Producer: Eliki Reade

This project has been assisted by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria, Australia Council for the Arts, Multicultural Arts Victoria, Drummond Street Services and the City of Melbourne through Arts House.

Image credit: Dissident Media 

Image description: A digital rendering of three artists submerged in the water of a coral reef. A sunken ship is overgrown with sea plants/coral. Artists are suspended underwater, their hair is floating upward. There is coral in the foreground, and schools of fish billowing around them to the effect of cloth floating in water. 

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