Kee’ahn and Emma Donovan Share First Nations Anthem ‘Take No More’
'Take No More' is the striking debut for the Singing Out Futures program, The Archie Roach Foundation's mentoring experience that helps emerging First Nations artists on their songwriting and recording journeys.
Kee’ahns story begins in North Queensland on Wulgurukaba and Bindal land also known as the city of Townsville. I was born to First Nations parents who are super creative. On my dad’s side I am Kuku Yalanji, Jirrbal and Wurrunu. On my mum’s side I am from Badu Island in the Torres Straits.
Inspired by Mavis Staples, Aretha Franklin and more, “Take No More” is a First Nations anthem of power, truth and resistance.
The track started with a phrase penned by Donovan while Kee’ahn played their guitar, the pair imagining people chanting their words. The final version contains stellar backing vocals from Jessica Hitchcock, Kiwat Kennell, Candice Lorrae and Brian Lloyd, with instruments provided by Ben Yarram, Juanita Sumner and Stephen Maxwell.
“We started writing “Take No More” around Invasion Day Jan 26th,” Kee’ahn recalls. “Both of us were feeling a lot of emotions that come with the date and feeling inspired by grassroots mob who organise to educate and liberate our peoples. We spoke about how our leaders across generations stand strong and staunch against ongoing challenges, the act of carrying the torch forward passed down from your elders so our future generations can do the same or ideally won’t have to at all.
“We spoke about solidarity and how liberation is a joint fight with many hands needed. It also feels like this song has grown over the year, during which time beautiful Black leaders and changemakers have passed on into dreaming – this song feels dedicated to them. To Uncle Archie Roach and Aunty Ruby Hunter and to Uncle Jack Charles. They inspire me/us to sing our truth for our past, present and futures.”
“Take No More” is the first taste of the upcoming Singing Our Futures EP, which will officially release later this year. In the meantime, fans can listen to the track played live at the Singing Out Futures showcase event on Thursday, July 13th at Melbourne’s Corner Hotel. All ticket sales are going to The Archie Roach Foundation.
“Fans can expect a new chapter in my music journey! One that tells the story of writing “Take No More” with sis Emma and exploring and expanding my lyricism and musicality with her mentorship and inspiration of strength! But also an experience that is joyful and connective. I’m looking forward to celebrating this music with community and everyone who made it happen,” Kee’ahn says about the event.
Kee’ahn and Emma Donovan’s “Take No More” is out now. Singing Our Futures EP is out later this year via Cooking Vinyl Australia.
Story told from Conor Lochrie.
SINGING OUR FUTURES – UPCOMING TOUR DATES:
THURS 13 JUL | CORNER HOTEL, RICHMOND VIC | 18+ Tickets available from www.cornerhotel.com | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets
SUN 30 JUL | BRUNSWICK BALLROOM, BRUNSWICK VIC | ALL AGES Tickets available from TBC | TBC | All TBC Outlets