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Midnight Oil Announce First New Song in 18 Years, ‘Gadigal Land’

“We’ve always been happy to lend our voice to those who call for racial justice, but it really feels like we’ve reached a tipping point,” Midnight Oil said.

Image of Midnight Oil performing at The Domain in 2018

Midnight Oil are set to release the first track from their forthcoming mini-album, 'The Makaratta Project', this Friday.

Tony Mott*

Midnight Oil are set to share their first single in close to two decades this week, announcing the forthcoming release of “Gadigal Land”.

In February, Midnight Oil revealed that followed an Australian tour in 2019, the group had reconvened in the studio to begin recording their first new music since the release of 2002’s Capricornia.

Teaming up with producer Warne Livesey, the band revealed that they had recorded 20 songs, with eight of these (which “shared a strong focus on the issue of indigenous reconciliation”) set to be released on a mini-album titled The Makarrata Project.

While this would precede the release of another full-length studio album, this plans to share this record around the middle of the year appeared to have stalled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, with the aforementioned mini-album on track to arrive in October, the group have announced they will release the first single from this record on Friday.

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NEW SINGLE ‘GADIGAL LAND’ OUT FRIDAY. PRE-SAVE link in bio. This Friday we’ll be releasing our first piece of new music in nearly 20 years with ‘Gadigal Land’ – the first single from our forthcoming mini-album ‘The Makarrata Project’ (out late October). It features special contributions by vocalists Kaleena Briggs, Bunna Lawrie, Dan Sultan plus a lyrical section written and delivered by Gadigal poet, Joel Davison. The following night, a special studio video of the song will premiere during the National Indigenous Music Awards (www.nima.musicnt.com.au) telecast on NITV from 7pm AEST and simulcast on National Indigenous Television (NITV), Doubl​e J, National Indigenous Radio Service, TEABBA, Facebook, Youtube and ​Twitter. We’ve always been happy to lend our voice to those who call for racial justice, but it really feels like we’ve reached a tipping point. We urge the federal government to heed the messages in the Uluru Statement From The Heart and act accordingly. Hopefully this song and ‘The Makarrata Project’ mini-album we’ve created alongside our First Nations friends can help shine a bit more light on the urgent need for genuine reconciliation in this country and in many other places too. After centuries of struggle for recognition and justice, 2017’s Uluru Statement called for the establishment of a ‘First Nations Voice’ enshrined in the Australian Constitution and the establishment of a ‘Makarrata Commission’ to supervise agreement-making and truth-telling between governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We will donate our share of any proceeds received from this release to organisations which seek to elevate The Uluru Statement From The Heart in particular and Indigenous reconciliation more broadly (www.ulurustatement.org). Sony Music Entertainment Australia will match any artist contribution. – Midnight Oil

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Titled “Gadigal Land”, the track features contributions from vocalists Kaleena Briggs, Bunna Lawrie, and Dan Sultan, in addition to a lyrical section written and delivered by Gadigal poet, Joel Davison. Premiering on Friday, a special studio video of the song will air during the National Indigenous Music Awards at 7PM AEST.

“We’ve always been happy to lend our voice to those who call for racial justice, but it really feels like we’ve reached a tipping point,” the group explained in a statement. “We urge the federal government to heed the messages in the Uluru Statement From The Heart and act accordingly.

“Hopefully this song and The Makarrata Project mini-album we’ve created alongside our First Nations friends can help shine a bit more light on the urgent need for genuine reconciliation in this country and in many other places too.

“After centuries of struggle for recognition and justice, 2017’s Uluru Statement called for the establishment of a ‘First Nations Voice’ enshrined in the Australian Constitution and the establishment of a ‘Makarrata Commission’ to supervise agreement-making and truth-telling between governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

The statement from Midnight Oil also saw the group reveal that all proceeds of the track “to organisations which seek to elevate The Uluru Statement From The Heart in particular and Indigenous reconciliation more broadly”. Sony Music Entertainment Australia are also on board to match any contributions from artists.

While The Makarrata Project on on track to be released in October, there’s no word as to when the group’s next full-length album will be released, or when they will be able to hit the road once again. Most recently, the band’s intentions to perform The Makarrata Project at Splendour in The Grass last week were shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Midnight Oil’s “Gadigal Land” will be released on Friday, August 7th, with pre-saves available now.

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