Luka Lesson Brings A Friend To Speak About Cultural Heritage on “Living Artefact”
If you’re a firm believer that music can spread a message to bridge cultural divides, or if you just like some tightly-produced, slick hip hop, then you’re going to want to wrap your eardrums around the latest tune from best-selling Brisbane beat poet turned hip hop artist Luka Lesson. In his new track, Living Artefact, Lesson has brought in some heavy vocal artillery in the form of The Medics’ frontman Kahl Wallis, and they’re looking to talk about the issue of cultural heritage in Australia.
Starting with an almost Gregorian chant-style, deep vocal melody that would have Kanye West feeling green with envy, the track is built around these grandiose, epic sounds. In the opener and through the first verse, the hard hitting beat is supplemented with some other percussion, like bongos to fill the track with a lot of movement and groove. Building on the very full percussion, the verse features more of the chanting and big booming brass sounds to create a huge atmospheric feeling. Lesson’s complex flow sits on top of this very rhythmic backing track to create even more complex polyrhythms between his vocals and the beats.
As the chorus hits, the beat settles into a more steady groove and some electronic sounds are introduced to complement the vocal work from Lesson and Wallis. You never lose that sense of grandiosity, and the electronica is both booming and able to pierce through the other elements at the same time.
Lyrically, the track deals with the themes of cultural interaction in modern Australia. As Lesson and Wallis come from vastly different backgrounds (Greek and Indigenous, respectively), the pair discuss and compare the ways that their cultures are viewed and represented artistically. The pair weave an intriguing narrative that reflects both of their cultural heritages, with references to an array of Ancient Greek and Australian Indigenous tales, figures and music. These two intertwined sets of cultural references flow seamlessly, with the comparisons and and contrasts bouncing neatly across the verses.
“It is a statement to combat the sterilisation of both of our cultures, where difference is celebrated as a part of our lineage which has brought both of us to our contemporary experiences,” says Lesson of the track, with Wallis adding: “The song to me, poetically and artistically touches on the displacement and continued forced assimilation of First Nations people around the world.”
If you’re still to catch up on Lesson’s work, he’s been a spoken word artist and beat poet for over a decade, and he’s been serving up his best work in some of the world’s most prestigious spots. Apart from being the Australian Poetry Slam Champion of 2011, he’s performed at festivals worldwide, and alongside huge names like Greek hip hop group Active Member and the Chinese poet Xi Chuan.
Check out Living Artefact below, and keep your eyes peeled for Lesson hitting a stage near your on the “Living Artefact” tour in August!