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Midnight Oil Release First Single Since 2002, ‘Gadigal Land’

Almost two decades since the release of their last record, Midnight Oil are back and better than ever with “Gadigal Land”.

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

Tony Mott*

Having first teased its arrival earlier this week, iconic Aussie rockers Midnight Oil have returned with their first new song in 18 years, sharing the powerful “Gadigal Land” this morning.

Featuring Dan Sultan, Joel Davison, Kaleena Briggs, and Bunna Lawrie, “Gadigal Land” is the mighty return that fans of the political outfit have yearned for since the release of their most recent album, 2002’s Capricornia.

Taking its name from the traditional owners of Sydney, The Gadigal lands include what is now the CBD plus areas from South Head through to the inner west. With lyrics such as “Welcome to Gadigal land, do you know our story?“, the track provides a provocative account of what happened in the titular location, and elsewhere around the country, in 1788.

Kicking things off with a blast of horns, and encompassing the passionate message and performance style that Midnight Oil have always been known for, “Gadigal Land” feels as though barely a day has passed between now and when we last heard fresh material from the group.

A special studio video of the song will also air during the National Indigenous Music Awards at 7PM AEST on Saturday, and additionally streamed via the band’s Facebook page.


“Gadigal Land” is on track to appear on the forthcoming mini-album, The Makarrata Project, which was planned to arrive by the middle of 2020. Announcing new music in February, the group teamed up with producer Warne Livesey to record 20 songs, with eight of these (which “shared a strong focus on the issue of indigenous reconciliation”) set to be released on the aforementioned mini-album.

Unfortunately, with COVID-19 disrupting plans for the year, Midnight Oil’s special launch performance at this year’s Splendour in The Grass was also affected, though the group are still on track to release the record in October.

“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 via 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.”

While the rest of the band’s recordings are slated for a 2021 album release, Midnight Oil also revealed that all proceeds of “Gadigal Land” will go “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.

Midnight Oil’s “Gadigal Land” is out now via Sony Music Entertainment Australia.