Oetha sings for the matriarchs of the sistahood
Singing for the sistahood, hip-hop trio Oetha recently released their new single, Cruisin – paying homage to the power of matriarchs and celebrating the times they let their hair down.
Following their debut single, Sista Girl, Oetha’s Cruisin speaks to the need for women to let go of their responsibilities, take the weight of the world off their shoulders and cut loose with their sisters.
“Without a doubt, Cruisin is an anthem for Indigenous and non-Indigenous women. It is a celebration of female independence, providing the freedom to express ourselves within music and life,” said the trio.
The trio consists of Lady Lash, a proud Kokatha woman from Ceduna, South Australia, Dizzy Doolan from Townsville, Queensland and Miss Hood, an Aboriginal Kunai and Gunditjmara woman from Victoria.
Meriki Hood (Miss Hood) said Oetha’s journey of creation began years ago.
“We have such a good relationship, we have known each other for years upon years. It was a dream come true working together. Our relationship ends up being almost perfect for music, it’s so organic,” Miss Hood said.
“We all got together a few years back to create an EP and we had done a lot of songs that were important to us and touched important topics but we wanted something fun – that’s how Cruisin came to be.”
Miss Hood said it’s incredibly important for young First Nations women to have a solid group of women supporting them and holding them up.
“With everything through colonisation that we are dealing with, particularly here in Victoria right now and further out. We are based on a matriarchal society so that female community is such an important element of our culture we want to pass [that] on,” Miss Hood said.
“We are usually the first in line to put our feelings and emotions aside and get everything right and look after others, whether it’s regarding Sorry Business, domestic violence, other disputes – we are the peacemakers, the thread holding family together.”
“We carry the stress on our shoulders, and doing everything – it is so important for women to have spaces and songs like this to just let go to.”
Miss Hood has an incredibly intimate relationship with hip-hop, beginning writing at age 17.
“I feel music always gave me a voice, being Aboriginal, I had a lot to say. Music was the basis for that, a strong platform for me,” Miss Hood said.
“Hip-hop music in general relates to Aboriginal communities, it started in America and it was based on honestly being able to stick it to the man. A lot of the stories from America still touch home here in Australia – we suffered slavery, we suffered genocide and massacres here [too].”
Miss Hood works at Dame Phyllis Frost women’s correctional therapy, in various youth detention centres, and with Stolen Generation survivors teaching music as a form of therapeutic form of healing and self-expression.
“My father was part of the Stolen Generations, and same with a lot of my Uncles and Aunties. Our culture is all language based, we did a lot of healing through, art, dance and song traditionally. It makes sense even today to bring back songlines and our traditional forms of healing,” Miss Hood said.
The women don’t have long to celebrate the success. With an album on the horizon, Oetha have busy times ahead.
“We have a lot traveling coming our way – we are going to sit down and get an album out and happening which is so exciting. It’s the fun side of music, starting from scratch and creating,” Miss Hood said.
By Rachael Knowles