THE two Kyana corroborees were held on the Perth Esplanade in the early nineties before Noongar rapper Josh Eggington was born, but he heard lots of stories about the festivals while growing up.
The 23-year-old, who goes by the stage name “Flewnt”, has kept the legacy of Kyana alive, adapting a poem by Aboriginal writer Graeme Dixon into a rap song Kya Kyana, which was released last week.
‘Kya Kyana’ means welcome to the ceremonial grounds, and Dixon wrote it as a reflection of his experience at the corroboree.
It inspired Eggington to adapt the late poet’s work and add his own lyrics, paying homage to the Kyana corroborees.
He says “those festivals empowered the healing of Noongar people and strengthened their spiritual identity and sense of belonging. They reaffirmed people’s identity, pride, spirituality and unity”.
After spending two years working on a video for Kya Kyana and collaborating with other artists like Optamus and Vanessa Hope, it was premiered on November 16 at the Dumbartung Aboriginal Corporation, where the Kyana Gallery displays many significant cultural objects.
Josh’s uncle Robert Eggington is head of the DAC and founder of the Kyana Gallery, which is located in the old Clontarf orphanage in Waterford.
He hopes the song will connect the younger generation with the ongoing struggle that the festival and the original poem represented.
“This young fella has recorded it into an incredible hip hop clip,” Robert says.
“When our young people hear that in the form of a hip hop song they can relate to, they can see that struggle, they can see how it continued to evolve, and also they can access the important writings and teachings of poets like Graeme Dixon.
“It’s showing young people that there was something very important happening, and it was about feeling pride, and it was about our right to practice religion in our country that was for so long denied to us as Aboriginal people.”
The Kya Kyana video is up at youtu.be/C0ij5aLVzhw or you can search for “Flewnt – Kya Kyana” on YouTube.