Blak & Bright First Nations Literary Festival acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional custodians of the sacred lands on which we work. We pay our respects to the people of the Kulin Nations and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, past present and future.

We recognise all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the first storytellers; and that knowledge transfer through storytelling is imbedded in the very DNA of this Country.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings or printed material.

Dive into the profound narratives behind the melodies with ‘Stories Beyond the Songs’ featuring Allara, Deborah Cheetham Fraillon, Maylene Yinar, Monica Jasmine Karo.

This captivating showcase features four extraordinary singer/songwriters, each weaving a tapestry of inspiration behind their beloved compositions.

Allara Briggs, a Yorta Yorta woman, unfolds tales of Blak justice and climate justice through her unique blend of storytelling, music, bass guitar and looping. Having graced stages at the St Kilda Festival and Port Fairy Folk Festival this year, Allara transforms grief for past injustices into a cultural investigation and artistic statement.

“Allara’s work isn’t just captivating on a thematic level; she’s also cultivated a distinct musical language…” The Mixdown Magazine

Maylene Yinarr’s songs echo with themes of hope and healing, paying tribute to the frontier wars on Australia’s soil. The talented Naarm artist radiates poise and soul, delivering a sonically lush and thematically intricate tunes, With a blend of indie and pop, Maylene’s melodies invite listeners to connect on a deeper level.

Deborah Cheetham Fraillon AO, a Yorta Yorta soprano, actor, composer, and playwright, has graced international stages, performing at prestigious events like the 2000 Summer Olympics and the 2003 Rugby World Cup. Her opera, ‘Pecan Summer,’ brought to life the 1939 Cummeragunja walk-off.

“It’s storytelling, which is central to Indigenous culture, that Cheetham Fraillon wants to see at the heart of opera.” ABC – The Drum

MpathSoul, a proud Gunnai/Kurnai, Gunditjamara, and Mukjarwaint woman, infuses her spoken word artistry and soulful folk music with a deep spiritual connection to her ancestry. Her original works, resonating with themes of protest, healing, and connection, have echoed across stages at St Kilda Festival, Port Fairy Folk Festival, and Yirramboi Festival.

‘Stories Beyond the Songs’ invites you on a journey through the hearts and minds of these exceptional artists, uncovering their rich narratives and inspirations.




Allara Briggs-Pattison, proud Yorta Yorta Woman has an enchanting glow when she performs, always gracing the stage with a passionate grin from ear to ear. Her range of skills playing on both upright and standard bass compliment each other. Her ears have grown large from playing in a variety of different styles including neo-soul, jazz,…

Deborah Cheetham Fraillon

Deborah Cheetham Fraillon AO (Yorta Yorta/Yuin) is a respected human rights advocate and recognised thought leader on the importance of cultural authority in the Art Music space. Throughout a long and distguished career Deborah has championed the voice and visibility of classically trained Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island musicians through her achievements a composer, performer…

Maylene Yinarr

Experience the soulful melodies of Maylene Yinarr, a singer-songwriter who delves deep into the themes of vulnerability and connection. As a descendant of the First Peoples of Australia and Melonesia, Maylene Yinarr’s music is a perfect blend of emotive lyrics and captivating melodies. Her soulful voice has the power to transport you to a world…

Monica Jasmine Karo

Monica Jasmine Karo, also known as MpathSoul is a Gunai and Gunditjmara multi-disciplinary artist. Monica has spent the last 10 years performing her craft as a singer-songwriter, actor, and spoken-word poet in Naarm and across Australia. This year in 2023 Monica has performed her original music on many stages such as the Share The Spirit…