With blonde hair and dulcet tones, singer-songwriter Jess Beck hasn't let naysayers hold her back with comments questioning the validity of her Indigenous past.
A descendant from the stolen generation, learning about her Luritja heritage and why she couldn't grow up with her real grandmother, has spurred the Corrimal musician through creative pursuits - including fronting the indie-pop band Pirra.
"The Indigenous arts industry has been so welcoming and I've had so many positive experiences from Aboriginal people accepting me," Beck said. "As a lighter skin-colour person there's been so many experiences in my life of people telling me I have no right to identify as being Aboriginal and don't even want to hear my story.
"What I think is special is calling our band name Pirra [meaning 'moon'] and that gets people asking questions and that is the chance for me to talk about my family's story. It's a good way for people to ... realise that it's quite close some of these atrocities that have occurred."
The name for the indie-pop four piece came after Beck met Aboriginal elder Uncle Sammy Butcher at a festival and told him the story of meeting her grandmother Linda Jackson. He was the one to suggest Pirra and urged her to "tell everyone".
The group have just released a new single Never Apart, which was produced by Sam Littlemore of Pnau, and was to be celebrated with a tour in September though COVID restrictions have forced its postponement.
The group is now aiming to tour in summer with an out-of-the-box type show for Wollongong like a silent disco.
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