Liss Gabb – creative producer, director, curator
Liss is the program co-ordinator at cohealth Arts Generator, a participatory arts space that is a division of Western Region Health Centre. Liss has extensive experience in the designing of, implementing and managing arts based projects with communities that experience structural disadvantage. Underpinned by principles of cultural democracy and social justice, cohealth Arts Generator is committed to supporting communities with complex needs to access to quality arts and cultural activity. Liss provides the artistic leadership of the program, which serves a diverse population of social housing tenants, clients of cohealth and established and emerging migrant communities (see http://www.youtube.com/barklyartscentre). Central to Liss’ practice is the creation of powerful, authentic artwork through a process of meaningful collaboration with community members. As a collaborating artist Liss has created a number of multimedia installations for broad audiences these include Free World at Federation Square, Melbourne Festival 2009 and Lotus Effect (Dante’s Gallery) in 2004. Liss is currently undertaking her Masters of Arts (Art in Public Spaces) at RMIT.
Mary Quinsacara aka querator – lead hip hop artist
As a Hip-Hop artist and activist Mary lives the dream of merging her love of hip- hop culture with a social justice sensibility. Chilean born and Mornington Peninsula grown, she is highly skilled at working with young people in arts based projects that will support them to grow, connect and create great art. Mary has worked as a lead hip hop artist, project co-ordinator, creative producer and mentor for a wide range of community organisations across Melbourne. More recently she’s spearheaded the development of Steady Buildin Community- a collective of arts practitioners whom use the hip-hop form as a tool for social change. She is also one of the first female rap artists in Australia and has played a key role in breaking down barriers for women emcees in Australian hip hop. Mary aka Querator has recently launched an album Spirit Level (as half of the duo Illevel) on Nuffsaid Records.
Andrea Khoza – Musical Director / Singing Teacher
Andrea Khoza is a highly experienced professional singer, songwriter, vocal teacher and workshop tutor. Based in Melbourne she has been working as a professional musician for the past 14 years, participating in a broad range of musical events. Andrea co-founded the all-female vocal quartet, Akasa, who have recorded three successful albums, two of which won the Contemporary A cappella Recording Awards in the USA for Best World/Folk Album. She has sung and recorded with many other musicians such as Valanga Khoza and King Marong as well as co-directing The Melbourne Millennium Chorus (350 voice) and City of Melbourne’s Sing for Water (500 voice). Andrea has been integral to the development of the MASSIVE hip hop choir repertoire. Follow the link! for more information
Valanga Khoza – lead musician, story teller
Valanga Khoza engages students of all backgrounds with personal anecdotes which highlight his experiences of racism. Growing up under the system of apartheid in South Africa then traveling the world in exile as a refugee, Valanga weaves humour and wit through the many entertaining stories which also reflect the power of resilience. Students of all ages are able to relate to Valanga’s stories and feel comfortable to openly discuss their own experiences in a relaxed and non- confrontational manner. Valanga is a consummate musician and songwriter, and has toured extensively. Follow the link! for more information
Akimera Burckhardt-Bedeau- Vocalist
The daughter of one of the founding members of Afro-Rock group Osibisa- the late Spartacus R, Akimera’s musical talent runs in her blood. Akimera is a vocalist, rapper as well as a Paramedic. Akimera is a co-founding member of MASSIVE and as a solo vocalist has worked with up and coming groups including Hard Hustle, DEELO, Percival, Progressive Minds, Melbourne’s New Dub City Sound and Skaaki with SK Simeon. Akimera believes in the power of music to transform people. She gains pleasure from working with intergenerational communities. Akimera is also lead artist for Art Centre Melbourne’s Sisters on the Mic Program.
Phillip Pandongan aka Yung Philly – Emcee
Yung Philly is an accomplished emcee with many performing years under his belt. In addition to being a founding member of MASSIVE, Philly has worked extensively with A.R.A.B as a musician and emcee. He has participated in many events such as the Lebanese Hypefest, Beyond Blue performances and performed as the Master of Ceremonies of Moomba 2009. Yung Philly has a special ability to reach out to the audience and engage on every level. Philly is of proud Filipino heritage and was awarded the 2009 Freestyle at Fed Square Rapper of the Year. In 2013 Yung Philly is working with Barkly Arts Centre to deliver Sisters and Brothers – a project in primary schools across the West of Melbourne that aims to reduce racism through collaborative song writing.
Mazna Komba- Vocalist/Actor
Mazna is a performing artist experienced in theatre. She started as a participant early in high school and has developed over the years to now facilitate, mentor and be an artist in schools for community programs and funded projects. She is part of the Flemington Theatre Group as an actress, a group of young African artists who create and perform theatre and interactive forum theatre to represent the strengths and issues, with respect, of the African community and wider society in school settings. She is also a co-founding member, singer and MC of MASSIVE and has been performing part of the ensemble, mentoring and teaching music performance and song writing in community and school based workshops, festivals and events. As a singer she was also part of Art Centre Melbourne’s Dig Deep Program, which helped her to write and produce her own music work in collaboration with other artists.
Gabriel Collie- Musician, rapper, vocalist
Gabriel aka Gabs is a multi-talented artist whose love for music and working within community for social change, drives him to experiment, connect and network as much as possible. The Rudy V Alliance headed by Gabs is manifestation of his networks coming together for open style jams under one umbrella. Gabs is also a member of the MASSIVE Family and currently works as a Mentor within Sisters and Brothers and as Music Facilitator on the Benchmark program of outreach in Footscray for Barkly Arts. Gabs is also an active member of the music collective Dig Deep at Arts Centre Melbourne.
Australia’s first hip hop choir; MASSIVE is now well into its third year and going from strength to strength. Shrugging off the “choir” tag in 2013 MASSIVE now identifies as a collective of young urban artists aged 18– 25yrs who identify as Tongan/Fijian, Cook Islander, Niuean, Samoan, Lebanese/Tongan Caribbean/North African, Filipino, Comoros islander, Tanzanian, English/Spanish, and Indonesian. MASSIVE has created a new genre of hip hop that combines original rap lyrics, fresh beats, lush three part harmonies, body percussion, traditional pacific island dance and street choreography. Drawing on the strength of their diversity, MASSIVE has been performing and recording their unique repertoire that is flavoured with old skool hip hop, gospel, traditional cultural tunes and protest music. MASSIVE has collaborated with Deaf Arts Network, Anti-Racism Action Band, Arts Centre Melbourne’s Dig Deep program, South Sudanese rap star Emmanuel Jal, Diafrix, Blue King Brown, hip hop artists Lotek and Lesson, Multicultural Arts Victoria, OZ Soul Collective and Big West festival.
MASSIVE has run workshops with schools and community choirs across the west, in prisons, youth justice centres and regional Koori communities. Most recently MASSIVE has collaborated with Western Edge Youth Arts and Flemington Theatre Group on FATE for Big West Festival; Outer Urban Projects on Urban Chamber for Melbourne Festival. Past collaboration include; Arts Centre Melbourne on the Raising the Roof project for the re-opening of Hamer Hall program (September 30th 2012) and with the MSO on their Romeo & Juliet Project at Hamer Hall (November 2012).
MASSIVE launched their debut album Neology – neo tunes for an old world on September the 21st 2012. Follow the link for more information!