Sunday Territorian 6 Oct 2019
Sunday Territorian; NewspaperNT
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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.
Nationwide News Pty. Limited
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Nationwide News Pty. Limited
16 NEWS SUNDAY OCTOBER 6 2019 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 Our Jess talks names, music and her country WHATS in a name? For Jessica Mauboy, the answer is everything. Not long ago, as she was thinking about what she wanted to say with her next album, the singer found herself consumed with writers block. So she began to write out her name on a sketchpad. I was sitting by myself one night [at home] and I kept thinking, I need to go home to Darwin. People want me to write this record but I dont know what to write, she tells Stellar. I started writing my name out: Jessica Mauboy. And then Jessica Hilda Mauboy. Then I kept writing Hilda in different styles. For a reason she could not quite understand at the time, Mauboy says, she intrinsically knew one thing. It felt like Hilda was the key. And so she set out on a quest to find out just why her mother, Therese, had bestowed the name of her grandmother, Hilda Mills, to her, the second youngest of the five Mauboy sisters. Over cups of tea in the kitchen of their family home in Darwin, Mauboy gingerly asked her mum why she gave her that middle name. The immediate answer was simple when she was born, Therese saw her mothers face in her baby girl. The history was much more complex, and in many ways tragic. It also opened a conversation that not only allowed the singer to discover her past, but even unlocked her writers block. Mauboy and her mother spent hours talking about the life her nana led before it was cut short at the age of 36. Her granddaughter loved hearing about Hildas upbringing on a mission in the Queensland mining town of Mt Isa. What I have discovered has allowed me to embrace so much more about myself, the 30-year-old tells Stellar. Learning about how she lived up on the mission with her seven brothers and sisters, living their culture, still singing traditional songs, doing traditional ceremonies, speaking language... The stories strengthened Mauboys connection to the Indigenous identity that stems from her mothers Kuku Yalanji people in the rainforest regions of Far North Queensland. But her heart also ached as her mother told of the Romeo and Juliet-like tale of the love affair between Hilda and her future husband Raymond Mills, and their fight to be together in the 1940s. This white Maltese man fell head over heels for Nana and this was a time where there was still segregation by skin colour; their love was forbidden. Thats in my blood, thats part of my story, she says. Her family didnt like Nana being with a white man. It brought them fear she would suffer, and they also worried she would lose their culture. He would sneak in to see her at night he saw Nana for who she was, and loved her regardless of skin colour. Therese was only 10 when Hilda died, and Mauboy watched her carry the tragedy as she brought up five young women without a mothers guidance and advice. I had to be sensitive talking to Mum about Nana; I could see instantly the pain as she tried to remember back to when she was 10, says Mauboy, her eyes welling with tears as she explains the circumstances that led to her nanas untimely death. There was a party and she was wearing a traditional grass skirt. It caught on fire from a heater and she went up in flames. They took her straight to the hospital, but the next night Nana discharged her self. She must have felt she was going and she didnt want to die there. Mum says she heard someone coming into the house and it woke her up, continues Mauboy. She remembers going into Nanas room and seeing her, she was badly burnt she put on her nightgown. When Mum woke up the next morning, she had passed. I dont think Mum has ever got over it. I dont know how she could. On the verge of releasing her most personal and heart-wrenching music to date, Jessica Mauboy joins Stellar in the Northern Territory to reconnect with the land and the family history that grounds and inspires her Photography STEVEN CHEE Styling KELLY HUME Interview KATHY McCABE Keep up with the conversation *Digital Membership + WEEKEND Delivery to be billed the following amounts 4 weekly: for the first 12 weeks, min.cost $15 and then min.cost $30. Renewals occur unless cancelled in accordance with the full Terms and Conditions. Not in conjunction with any other offer. New customers only. Offer is only available where normal home delivery exists for NT residents and not where additional freight is ordinarily charged. Prices may be varied after the initial period of the subscription in accordance with the full offer terms and conditions apply see www.ntnews.com.au/subscriptionterms for full details. Only $3.75 a week for the first 12 weeks I Min. cost $15* Weekend paper delivery + full digital access* 50%OFF for the first 12 weeks Call 1800 174 079
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