Tuggeranong Arts Centre has launched an all-star line-up of events in November to celebrate LGBTIQA+ culture on the south side. Collaborating with local events and organisations, such as SouthFest and Diversity ACT, and sitting alongside Canberra’s annual pride celebration SpringOUT, the program hopes to promote diversity and inclusion in the valley and celebrate Tuggeranong’s unique queer culture. With scheduled artists including Electric Fields, The Merindas, Benjamin Law, Mama Alto and Nic Holas, the program is set to give local celebrations a national profile.
Queer Stage @ SouthFest – Saturday 16th November, 12pm – 3pm
The highlight of the TuggersPride program will be ‘Queer Stage @ SouthFest’ –a main stage line up at Tuggeranong’s newest community celebration, headlined by some of Australia’s best First Nations queer artists.
This line up will feature local stars Florin Douglas, MadB, and Areola Grande and the Werkin’ Girls alongside; LayDee KinMee the yodelling drag queen from Australia’s Got Talent, Australia’s favourite showgirl Constantina Bush direct from Katherine (NT), Indigenous electro tribal pop duo The Merindas, and headline act, multi-award winning electronic duo Electric Fields. Comedian Sean Choolburra will host it all.
Electric Fields is a potent new music bringing together the brilliance and creativity of music producer and composer Michael Ross, with the mesmerising sensitivity of Zaachariaha Fielding – whose rare and beautiful voice has been described as ‘taking soul to the stratosphere’. These two feminine brothers create a striking and haunting merging of living traditional culture with electronic music. Co-writing music and delivering an evocative and memorable live performance experience, Electric Fields bring moments of breathtaking beauty and power to the stage. Often featuring Zaachariaha’s traditional language of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara people, Electric Fields music ranges from soulful pop to epic-scale electronic works, through to intensely intimate story-songs.
Electric Fields brought in the New Year at Woodford on the main stage, debuting their exhilarating new single 2000 & Whatever at the stroke of midnight to more than 22,000 people – followed up in February when they took 2000 & Whatever to the stage as finalists for Eurovision – Australia Decides, not only coming in a close second, but within an hour were trending worldwide on Twitter at #7. Reflecting the phenomenal trajectory Electric Fields have been on since their first appearance only 3 years ago – they had already taken out 5 significant Australian music awards within a year of their debut EP release. Receiving the APRA Emily Burrows Award, they went on to perform in China, Scotland and Indonesia by invitation, played for a massive New Year’s Eve event to an audience of 40,000, and were booked to play WOMADelaide 2017. They hit No1 on Radio Adelaide’s Most Played, went on high rotation on Fresh FM, and are received airplay on Triple J. Taking out New Talent of the Year for the National Indigenous Music Awards 2017 (NIMAs), Electric Fields became recipients of the much-coveted Stigwood Fellowship for 2017/2018. They went on to be awarded SA Live Act of the Year for the National Live Music Awards 2017 (NLMAs), with Zaachariaha also receiving SA Live Voice of the Year. Nominated for Artist of the Year for 2018 at the NIMA’s, Electric Fields went on to receive the National Live Music Award 2018 for Best Electronic Live Act.
Multiple tracks from their EP have been used as soundtracks for films and promotions for major festivals – with two songs appearing on the Australian feature film Top End Wedding, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2019. Four of their tracks feature in the film Blak Divas.
Recent Melbourne based female duo, The Merindas, present a much anticipated show unprecedented on the Australian music scene.
Jawoyn woman Candice Lorrae born in Darwin and Nyoongar Ballardong Whadjuk woman Kristel Kickett from Tammin in Western Australia discovered their mutual passion for music in Perth just 6 years ago. Making the move to Melbourne together with their families it’s clear these soul sisters are set to trail-blaze their innovative style of Indigenous music.
Catching their break in 2012 singing Motown hits for the launch of the Sapphires movie, The Merindas went on to sell out shows across Perth receiving a 2013 Deadly award nomination for Most Promising New Talent In Music. Success continued with winning the 2015 Indigenous WAM Song of the Year for their single “Ready to Love”. It’s no surprise The Merindas would go on to support some of Australia’s biggest stars, including, among others, Jessica Mauboy, Dan Sultan and Isaiah Firebrace as well as supporting International Grammy Award winning artist, Brandy in 2016.
Together with ARIA award winning producer Dazastah from Downsyde and new emerging producer Jake Steele, The Merindas are currently working on their debut album set to launch in early 2019. Their new music is the synthesis of warrior queen, on-trend style of rhythmic, expressive and beautiful music that is a tribute to their cultural heritage. Blending their sultry tones, hypnotising melodies and energetic stage presence The Merindas will, along with the mastery of Jake Steele’s mixing skills on stage, create an atmospheric fusion of Indigenous, electro tribal pop sounds in an extraordinary presentation.
Australia’s Premiere Showgirl from the bush – the female alter-ego of award winning First Nations Australian artist Kamahi Djordon King – is back for TAC’s Queer Stage @ SouthFest. Earlier this year, Constantina captivated local audiences with a night of song and storytelling reflecting Constantina’s unique life growing up in the bush, from 70’s disco to today’s Club music.
Constantina was born by accident in 2008, when somebody pulled out of a show and Gurindji artist and performer Kamahi Djordon King threw on a wig and heels to replace them. But Constantina did the unthinkable… she sang live instead of lip-syncing!
Gathering fans quickly, Constantina was asked to perform annually at Outblack, an Indigenous run night for the Black LGBTIQ group in Melbourne. Since then she has toured with Moira Finucane from Finucane & Smith’s burlesque variety shows, worked with Melbourne’s Malthouse Theatre, and had her own shows, with the Bushettes in tow, around the Australian festival circuit.
LayDee KinMee is one of Australia’s most in demand drag queens and is known for her incredible vocals and unique yodeling talents. She entertains audiences both nationally and internationally; building up a rapport with any audience and seeing them leave as friends and fans.
In early 2012, LayDee shocked television and online audiences after her yodeling performance on Australia’s Got Talent. She received a standing ovation from all 3 judges and was also one of the most memorable acts of the series. From this, she became known as “The Yodeling Drag Queen”, and also became infamous with her catch-phrase “FASTER”, which she used as the title of her debut album released in November 2014. The album features some camp country tracks, big diva ballads and of course her ever popular yodels.
In late 2016, LayDee was selected as one of The Top 25 LGBT People of Australia to watch out for in 2017 by Gay News Network Australia.
Sean Choolburra is one of the most popular and versatile Indigenous performers in Australia today. He has a long 25+ year’s career as a didgeridoo player, dancer, singer, actor, songwriter, and comedian.
Sean Choolburra is known and acknowledged as the funniest and most enduring Aboriginal Australian comedian. He has most recently been labeled the “Godfather of Indigenous comedy”. Born in Townsville, QLD, coming from a family of twelve, his comedy is created from a wide variety of life time experiences, stories, and observations.
Florin Risley comes from a family of performers and has been showboating since he was a wee moppet. He is an emerging performer and producer, a student, and a dedicated advocate for queer artists. He is also a guitar enthusiast and a singer of funky songs. He started fiddling around on the guitar because he wanted to be like Bob Dylan, and took an interest in singing after he realised that remembering lyrics was the easiest way of keeping time. In 2015 Florin began studying Performing Arts at an elite academy, but was forced to drop out after realising it would not be possible to continue performance training while going through gender transition. Since then, he has become a staunch advocate for transgender performers.
Since moving to Canberra in 2017, Florin has played at Equality Australia’s ‘Better Together’ conference at Ainslie Arts Centre; at the YOUth & I Intersex Publication launch; and as part of Tuggeranong Arts Centre’s Interpose project, to name a few. You can find him on instagram at florin_risley_official.
On the SouthFest Queer Stage, Florin will be accompanied by guitarist Beth Monzo.
Areola Grande and the Werkin’ Girls
Local drag queen, Areola Grande, with some of Canberra’s best performers, the Werkin’ Girls, are here to deliver camp, fierce and sexy moves that will get you up out of your seat and dancing in the street! Tuggeranong locals themselves, Areola and the Werkin’ Girls are ecstatic to be a part of this celebration of local pride and diversity.
Dates: Saturday 16 November
When: 12 pm to 3 pm
Where: Queer Stage at SouthFest, Cowlishaw Street, Tuggeranong Town Centre, Greenway ACT 2900