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Birdz and Fred Leone Present: Girra

28 May 2023

In the Utzon Room

Contemporary Music

With their lyrical flow, dynamic beats and ferociously political subject matter, rappers and cousins Birdz and Fred Leone bring their distinct brand of hip-hop from the Butchulla Nation to the Vivid LIVE stage.

Birdz took the stage with hypeman Fred Leone and had the audience captivated. The socially conscious songs showcased his versatile flow of tight bars and melodic hooks.

The AU Review

Watch the Trailer

Brand new beats and rhymes from the Butchulla Duo

When their swaggering, anti-colonialist hip-hop collaboration “Bagi-la-m Bargan” stormed the Triple J Hottest 100 in 2020, Birdz and Fred Leone ascended to their rightful place in the national consciousness – and haven’t looked back. Cousins and musical brothers from the Butchulla Nation, Rapper Birdz and Songman Leone are a formidable live double act, capable of raising the roof and speaking truth to power in equally ferocious measure. 

After making his Vivid LIVE debut as part of Briggs’ Bad Apples House Party in 2019, Birdz returns – with Leone in tow – as they make their Sydney Opera House debut, showcasing songs from their new recording, Girra.

Raised in the Northern Territory, the Naarm-based Nathan ‘Birdz’ Bird was first inspired by American hip-hop acts like 2Pac and Ice Cube, alongside Indigenous poet Bobbi Sykes. His first EP Birdz Eye View (2013) and 2016 singles “Rise” and “Black Lives Matter” announced him as a powerful new voice in Australian hip-hop, a reputation he cemented with his debut album Train of Thought (2017), which won the AIR award for Best Independent Hip Hop Album. Led by the breakout success of “Bagi-la-m Bargan”, Birdz’ long-awaited second album, LEGACY (2021), proved the rapper was one of the most uncompromising and musically gifted artists in local hip-hop. A poignant reckoning with stolen generations, the record was nominated for a National Indigenous Music Award, and featured collaborations with country superstar Missy Higgins (“LEGACY part 2), rising R&B artist Ngaiire (on the hooky, triumphant radio hit “Fly”), and vocalist Thom Crawford (the reggaeton-powered “They Don’t Know”).

An artist, hip-hop musician and Butchulla Songman with Aboriginal, Tongan and South-Sea Islander heritage, Fred Leone is Birdz’ cousin, sonic collaborator and frequent on-stage hype-man. As both an award winning rapper and a custodian of traditional songs, Leone has developed a singular voice in Australian hip-hop, incorporating instruments such as the didgeridoo, boomerang and Emu egg into his performances. He’s toured with Public Enemy, Dead Prez and People Under The Stairs, and is the founder of Queensland’s first Indigenous-owned and operated record label, Impossible Odds Records. This is Birdz & Fred Leone's Vivid LIVE debut, as they present songs from their new recording Girra.

Presented by Sydney Opera House

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