News May 16, 2019

Mission Songs Project wins Cat Empire international touring grant

Mission Songs Project wins Cat Empire international touring grant

The remarkable Mission Songs Project is the recipient of The Cat Empire’s new International Touring Grant.

It is presented with The Australia Council for the Arts as part of its February funding round, which had a surge of first-time applications.

Some who applied for the Council grants were shortlisted for The Cat Empire initiative.

The band chose composer, performer and cultural practitioner of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander music Jessie Lloyd, who will take Mission Songs Project to Mexico in June.

It is performed as a quartet with a range of Indigenous performers from around Australia.

Searching for the secular songs that were sung after church by First Australian communities, Lloyd explores the day to day life on the indigenous missions, settlements and reserves through music.

Lloyd began the project after hearing her aunties singing an old tune called ‘The Irex’ from Palm Island in Queensland.

The Irex was the name of the boat that used to transport the stolen generation children in the early to mid 20th century, and the song was what the families used to sing as they didn’t know if they would see their loved ones again.

Aside from providing money for the Mexico trip, The Cat Empire will also mentor Mission Songs Project on how to move their careers forward.

“We were honestly humbled by the number of impressive artists who responded to this opportunity,” says The Cat Empire trumpeter and co-vocalist Harry Angus.

“There was lots amazing music to listen to, and of course some heated discussion as to who each member thought the winner should be, but ultimately we are satisfied that Jessie Lloyd is definitely ready to take that next big step to take her very unique Australian music across the globe.

“It has been such an inspiring and rewarding project to be involved in.”

Paul Mason from the Arts Council adds, “The Australia Council has always been proud that we funded the Cat Empire on one of their early international tours, and for the band to now be reinvesting in other artists is an act of real leadership.

“Jessie Lloyd’s application stood out in a very competitive round against our selection criteria of artistic merit, good planning and in the case of this collaboration with The Cat Empire, international impact.”

The Cat Empire’s next Australian tour is in October.

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