Apr 21, 2020
DYSPORA - AUSTRALIEN
“When I succeed I am Australian, but when I fail I am African.“ Adelaide’s DyspOra announces his long-awaited debut EP, a powerful statement on what it means to be a minority in Australia today.
“It’s about wanting to belong, but still feeling alienated.” This is the way Adelaide’s self-made sonic activist Gabriel Erjok Majer Akon, a.k.a DyspOra, describes his experience as an Australian on 2020’s long-awaited debut EP, ‘AUSTRALIEN’.
Born in a time of desperation in South Sudan, as his father fought in the civil war and his mother struggled to bring his family to safety, Akon spent his first years in a refugee camp before finally resettling in Adelaide. “I became a man in a land that isn’t my own - but I’ve learnt to embrace that”.
A self-made social entrepreneur, when he isn’t running community workshops for youth in the far reaches of Adelaide’s outer suburbs, or advocating to build recording studios in refugee camps, Akon runs his own Playback 808 label, a home for African youth on the forefront of Adelaide’s music scene.
A new partnership with Melbourne’s Music in Exile label, a not-for-profit aimed at platforming refugee and migrant artists, has finally bought us DyspOra’s long-awaited debut, recorded throughout 2018 in the suburbs of Adelaide. The sound is decidedly old-school, finding a home somewhere in the soul-jazz sound of Rawkus-era mid-nineties hip hop with a nod to contemporary beatmakers and sample culture.
An artist with so much to give this country, DyspOra believes in the power of music to spread a positive message. There is a conversation to be had, and this is his way of having it.
“There’s a generation of, I call them, ‘Australiens’. They are the ones that want to be Australian, but they get treated like aliens, so they’re somehow on the fringes. They are the biggest potential this country could ever have because of what they could add to this country. All the nation has to do is invest in them. And the investment is so tiny. The investment is literally just accepting them.
I fight for the refugee’s identity. I will stand with the people who need my voice. Having been a refugee previously, I know just how hard that is and what that journey is like.
We have a very important opportunity right now, with a new generation of kids who are growing up: to either empower them to become the change in their lives and the change this country really needs, or we can go the Donald Trump way and ostracise them and see how ugly this gets.
Trust me, as someone who has been through immeasurable amounts of pain and war, the beautiful path is a lot easier to take, and all we have to do is literally embrace these kids.” - Gabriel Akon, DyspOra