Kristal West releases a brand new song on Mabo Day, for her grandfather Eddie Mabo: "I felt a strong desire to find my ‘real’ voice, rooted in family, history and culture."
We first heard of Kristal West in 2014 when she sang a rendition of Justin Bieber's As Long As You Love Me with her singing partner Zaachariah Fielding as part of their duo ZK on season three of The Voice. Their soul-filled refrains and gorgeous warm tones compelled will.i.am to turn his chair and coach ZK through to the finals. One of the stand out performances of the season was undoubtedly the heartfelt outpouring to Aboriginal people everywhere, when the magical duo sang John Lennon's Imagine against a stunning backdrop of traditional indigenous dancers and musicians. ZK didn't win but went on to be the highest-charting act from The Voice that particular season.
Three years later, Kristal has decided to record of a group of songs to celebrate the life of her grandfather Eddie Mabo in the 25th anniversary of the High Court native title ruling. Kristal is a Murray Island woman and refers to her grandfather as Ata. As such, the EP set for release later this year is called Remembering Ata.
Kristal has collaborated with an all women indigenous group called Hummingbird Collective and says, "This project is important to me because it tells a story of my grandfather’s legacy and acknowledges a historic land rights decision made 25 years ago. My grandfather has inspired me my whole life. He has influenced me by empowering me to believe anything is possible. I am determined, motivated and resilient because of him. This tribute is not only important to me, but to my family. It reminds us of who we are, where we come from and of my grandfather, who I call Ata”.
The first track is a single called Nibe Nibe and was written by a Torres Strait Island singer-songwriter King Kadu and dedicated to Eddie Mabo. The head of the Hummingbird Collective says the song highlights the importance of preserving language and culture through music and storytelling.
We will have an interview with Kristal coming up in the next week or so.
In the meantime, listen and be moved by the incredible song and equally moving vocalist, Nibe Nibe by Kristal West.