There are many talented musicians who can play a number of instruments and then there is Matt Hsu, master of 30-plus instruments from the accordion, clarinet and drums to the mandolin, shakuhachi and trumpet.
The QUT Creative Industries research student and Entertainment Industries tutor has just released a new track – In Colour – which explores the experiences of Australian people of colour and is a collaboration with Zimbabwe-born, Brisbane-based hip-hopper Blaq Carrie, Indigenous Australian/Jamaican activist, poet and QUT graduate Aurora Liddle-Christie, and Brisbane/Samoan rapper Mister E (Elijah Hadfield).
“I wanted to take the conversation beyond binary ‘black and white’ representation to proudly explore the nuanced and intersectional experiences of being mixed-race, growing up in two worlds and shining a light on lesser represented minorities,” said Matt whose own heritage is a mix of Taiwanese and the Hakka nomadic people.
After founding Matt Hsu’s Obscure Orchestra, he has worked with international artists including Tenzin Choegyal from Tibet, Kenta Hayashi from Japan and Ben Ely of Australian band Regurgitator.
Last year he performed at BIGSOUND, toured Japan, and was nominated for a QMusic Award with his folk-punk band The Mouldy Lovers while earlier this year he performed at TEDxQUT.
The themes covered in his new work were shaped by his PhD thesis ‘Indie-Folk™: Vintage Sensibilities in the 21st Century' which is currently under examination and included a chapter on gender, race and class dynamics in indie music.
“I have been immersed in world music since I was a boy and I particularly like how I can use it to explore the grey areas between cultures,” Matt said.
“For In Colour I play all 15 world instruments for the backing music and put the word out to get some rappers involved which is how it came to feature Blaq Carrie, Aurora and Mister E. We all have different stories to tell.”
Matt is performing next week (28 November) at Queensland multicultural arts organisation BEMAC for the Unified World Music Project. He is also involved in a collaboration with QUT global entertainment and French international student Lucie Pegna to create a song called ‘Runes dans le Sable’ (Runes in the Sand), the result of the 4EB FM and BEMAC Music Masala Project.
Caption: In Colour artists Aurora Liddle-Christie, Matt Hsu, Blaq Carrie and Mister E
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