THERE’S a raw brutality to Mojo Juju’s songs.
Especially the signature track on the singer/songwriter’s new album Native Tongue, which has received rave reviews from critics.
In the video for the song she stands defiantly in a feather cloak, flanked by Aboriginal dancers in bright orange boiler suits.
The Pasefika Vitoria Choir, a mix of Samoan, Tongan and Maori singers, can be heard in the distance.
Mojo wants viewers to make up their own mind about the video.
“I’ve had a lot of theories, but I’m keen to stay silent on any symbolism,” she says.
“The more you think about it, the more value it has.”
Born Mojo “Juju” Ruiz de Luzuriaga, with an indigenous grandmother and a Filipino dad, Mojo felt out of sync with those around her.
“I grew up not feeling Australian.”
Native Song expresses her anguish as a child and the torment of her teenage years.
“The song is about my own longing for connection to culture,” Mojo tells the Voice.
“This album is about my relationships with ancestry and elders and how family history has informed a great deal of who I am.
“In a lot of ways I wrote this album for my younger self, because as a kid growing up in regional Australia I would have benefitted so greatly from having heard more stories from, by or about other people like me.
“I wanted this to be an album for first nations people, first generations, second generations and third-culture kids.”
Language and the feeling of disconnection are central to her songs: Mojo’s father had a university degree and spoke several languages including English, but after serving in the US army for 10 years he struggled to get a job in Australia.
“People assumed he didn’t speak English…and because of the pressure to assimilate he didn’t teach his children any other language.”
For her national tour, Mojo has teamed up with PLUS1, a charity supporting Aboriginal Legal Service, with $1 from each ticket being donated to the organisation.
You can catch Mojo Juju at Jack Rabbit Slims in Northbridge, Friday November 16, and at Mojo’s in North Fremantle Saturday November 17.
Tickets at http://www.oztix.com.au/?event–92585
She is supporting Paul Kelly on his Making Gravy tour in the eastern states in December.
By JENNY D’ANGER