The fiercely strong and flawlessly honest song-writing of Melbourne’s Mojo Ruiz de Luzuriaga, aka Mojo Juju, returns in the form of a brand new single and title track off her third studio album NATIVE TONGUE, out August 24 via ABC Music/Universal.
‘Native Tongue’ is the opening track to the forthcoming album and it cuts directly to the bone. Lead by a mesmerising beat (courtesy of Joelistics) and the haunting vocal work of the Pasefika Vitoria Choir, Juju treats these opening moments like a live exorcism; she takes a hand over either side of her chest and turns herself completely inside out, laying her innermost workings bare for all to see.
She pulls no punches and offers no quarter, tearing at the foundations of the institutionalised prejudices she has had to face as a mixed race, queer woman, growing up in a country with no place for her, never feeling enough a part of any one community to be accepted. It is a song that manages to be so personal and painful, yet simultaneously empowering and anthemic, as though it were written for every mixed race or Indigenous person who has ever felt like they did not belong.
Juju describes the track as “a song about longing. I think it’s a song for anyone who has ever felt like they are stuck between two worlds, struggling to find a place in either. Of course, I wrote this song about my own experience, but I also wrote it hoping that it might reach other mixed race and/or Indigenous people who have longed for deeper connection to their culture. My Dad speaks Tagalog, Ilonggo, Spanish and English, but growing up we only ever spoke English in our home. I would hear him talking to his family on the phone, a mash up of all these languages and I thought it sounded really cool, but it never dawned on me until I was older, exactly how much I was missing out on. I also remember as a teenager, my Mum researching her family history in an effort to learn more about her Grandfather and her Wiradjuri heritage. Now as an adult, I understand her urge to know more about her roots and lament the fact that I don’t speak the languages of my forebears.”
The clip, which premiered on Noisey, draws on the intrinsic beat of the track and features the dance styling of members from the Indigenous dance troop Djuki Mala, capturing the essence and influence of Mojo’s lyrics.
Watch the video for Native Tongue here:
NATIVE TONGUE is a fitting title for the third studio album from Mojo Juju and it is her very essence laid bare. It is raw, honest, emotional and intrinsically political. It is also brutal and relentlessly real.
Through the telling of family history and her own personal experiences, Juju explores her relationships with Elders and Ancestry and how that informs her own identity. Contemplating her Mother’s Indigenous heritage, her Father’s experience as a Filipino immigrant and her own place in the cultural landscape of modern Australia, it is an album about self-discovery and it is her most sincere, heartfelt and personal offering to date.
“One of the most crucial elements in order to know who you are is to know where you’ve come from, to know your roots. We’ve all heard it before but it really started to resonate with me. I started to think about the importance of oral traditions, how songs are such a huge part of that. I wanted to document these stories from my family, as well as my own experiences with identity and culture. So, delving into my family history is only the beginning of the story, but I think it’s a very good place to start.”
Stylistically, Juju once again embarks on new territory through collaborations with multiple producers; Steven Schram (Paul Kelly), Joel Ma (a.k.a. Joelistics), jnbo (The Cactus Channel) and Jamieson Shaw (Netflix series ‘The Get Down’), and includes a number of features from an eclectic array of guests; Hip Hop MC Mirrah (L-Fresh The Lion), soul music royalty Joshua Tavares and spoken word artist Lay the Mystic.
This time around Juju has taken her eclectic influences and created a seamless and authentically original sound, continuing her dedication to bucking labels, bending genres and doing her own thing. Perhaps the manifold musical incarnations of Juju are symbolic of the manifold pieces that make up her identity. Perhaps this unique blend of soul, r’n’b, blues & hip-hop is in fact her‘Native Tongue’.
NATIVE TONGUE Track Listing:
- Native Tongue
- Papá (Tagalog Interlude)
- Something Wrong (Featuring Mirrah)
- Think Twice
- Bound To
- Cold Condition (Featuring Joshua Tavares)
- Shut Your Mouth
- Never Again
- I Just Wanna Know
- Pidge (Jackie Interlude)
- Far Too Late
- 1000 Years
- Don’t Stop Me Now
- Native Tongue Reprise (Featuring Lay The Mystic)
JULY 6 – NOCTURNAL MELBOURNE MUSEUM
AUGUST 8 – 11 – ARTS CENTRE MELBOURNE
AUGUST 19 – SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE
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