Electric Fields x MSO for NAIDOC Week 2023

Electric Fields x MSO for NAIDOC Week 2023


Posted 2023-07-10 by Mia Ferreirafollow

Sat 08 Jul 2023

Photo credit: @photostudio_australia

I first discovered Electric Fields about a year ago and immediately became obsessed with their music and uplifting energy. It was actually their first 2022 NAIDOC Week performance at Hamer Hall which launched my fondness for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO), Melbourne Youth Orchestras (MYO) and even the MSO Chorus (the choir arm). I've attended dozens of brilliant performances with other artists since then but was quite excited to see Electric Fields collaborating with the MSO again this year.

Held annually, NAIDOC Week, which started from Aboriginal activism in the 1920 and 30s, is a celebration of the history, cultures, and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It's an opportunity for us to learn about First Nations cultures and histories and participate in celebrations of the oldest, continuous living cultures on earth.

Photo credit: @photostudio_australia

Electric Fields is an Aboriginal Australian electronic music duo made up of vocalist Zaachariaha Fielding and keyboard player and producer Michael Ross. Together they create electric pop and soul music with Aboriginal storytelling and culture, sung in Pitjantjatjara, Yankunytjatjara and English languages.

I love that their music helps bridge the gap between our cultures in a fun yet powerful way, and often play their music to lift my mood or when getting ready to go out. Combining their catchy tunes with a live orchestra, however, takes it to a whole other level and you simply can't help jumping out of your seat for a dance - which is exactly what happened last year!


Photo credit: @photostudio_australia

Looking around the foyer before the show there were more bright colours, patterns and sparkles, beards, tattoos and tote bags than usual - a much younger and more diverse audience than what you traditionally see at MSO performances.

Inside the theatre, the young couple in front of us were plotting to be first to start dancing and there was a real buzz in the air as the orchestra warmed up and we all settled into our seats.

I had not seen a female conductor up on the MSO stage before so it was an absolute delight to see Vanessa Scammell walk out as the night's conductor! Wearing a figure-hugging sheer long black dress, with her blonde hair in a messy braid down her back, she looked like a modern-day princess and I found myself mesmerised by her flowing gestures as she guided the musicians throughout the night.

It goes without saying that Electric Fields were also brilliant - delivering 90 minutes of joyful music including pop tracks like 'Shade Away', 'Glorious', 'Pukulpa', '2000 and Whatever', 'Catastrophe' and 'We the People', along with 'From Little Things Big Things Grow' (Paul Kelly cover arranged by Alex Turley) and 'Tjitji Lullaby' (created for ABC Kids). Their passion and energy, authenticity and attitude are so contagious and refreshing, putting everyone totally at ease and in the mood to celebrate.

But it was the orchestra who really shone this time - far more than the previous year's performance. While I adore Zaachariaha's voice and stage presence and Michael's talents on the keyboard, I feel like they overpowered the orchestra a bit in 2022.

To clearly hear and distinguish the violins and the horns (for example) amongst the electronic music and lyrics, created a more balanced and integrated sound and experience - a true collaboration, with the two styles of music merging together rather than competing with one another!

The performance was so good, there was one but TWO encores - 'Don't You Worry' and then a repeat of 'Shade Away'. It was clear no one wanted it to end and yes, I'm already looking forward to the next one ...

Electric Fields x MSO
Saturday 8 July 2023 at 7.30pm
Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall

Photo credit: @photostudio_australia

Photos by PhotostudioAustralia

Read my 2022 Electric Fields x MSO review HERE

More reviews of NAIDOC Week performances with the MSO:
Spinifex Gum 2022
One Song - The Music of Archie Roach with MSO


!date 08/07/2023
222343 - 2023-07-07 10:10:04


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