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Byron Shire
November 30, 2021

Activists turn to music to save Liverpool Plains

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The Ballina Region for Refugees were part of a nationwide event on the weekend – a 5-kilometre fundraising walk on a drizzly, grey Sunday, but with spirits undampened. 

A local media company has joined in protests against the proposed mining in the Liverpool Plains in north-west NSW.

Teaming with musician Luke Vassella, the ‘artivists’ Cloudcatcher Media last Friday released Luke’s latest single and accompanying music clip Shine a Light (for the NSW North West).

The clip, shot over eight months in four locations, features the Winsome Choir and the Liverpool Plains Youth.

Vassella has a history of activism. ‘I wrote a song about the Strathfield Plaza massacre when I was in high school’, he said.

‘I collaborated and recorded a song about the Timorese independence vote and for the past three and a half years I’ve been singing about CSG.’

Vassella said the song, inspired by Dorothea Mackellar’s famous Australian poem My Country, came about after another local campaign was over.

‘After seeing the effect of my song Gently Bentley during the Bentley Blockade, I set about  writing something I could sing for the North West Alliance. I’d been invited to sing at their stall at AgQuip 2014.’

Luke said that he thinks ‘artivism’ has a role in expressing the views and feelings of the protectors in a constructive and creative way.

‘When people are thinking “Why are we here? why am I doing this thing?” it helps people remember, and helps define and articulate the purpose – it strengthens and encourages and gives courage.’

Cloudcatcher Media filmmaker David Lowe said that they wanted to bring together the faces and voices of the northern rivers with the young farmers of the Liverpool plains who are currently battling the Chinese state-owned coal-mining company Shenhua.

‘Luke is a  bridge between these two worlds in terms of his family history and music’, he said.

’In the communications age, if people are not engaged emotionally and artistically then their attention is elsewhere’, says Lowe.

‘Artivism is the best and sometimes only way to make activism relevant to people who are disconnected from each other and the causes that matter.’

The song is available on iTunes.

See more about Cloudcatcher Media at http://bit.ly/cloudmedia.

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