Coloured Stone: Black pride pop

Issue 

Black pride pop

Rhythm of Nature
Coloured Stone
CAAMA Music
<http://www.caama.com.au/music>

Review by Barry Healy

Coloured Stone, proud propagandists for Aboriginal consciousness, are back with another poppy release that presents their uncompromising "black is beautiful" message. Just to make sure you get the message, the song "Black is Beautiful" is recorded twice, one a dance mix and the other with a quieter treatment.

Songwriter Bunna Rupert Lawrie (Coloured Stone is really Lawrie plus support musicians) hammers out the message of black pride in as many ways he can. It is Lawrie's determination to wear his pride so openly and his sense of urgency to communicate that make Coloured Stone resonate.

The musical arrangements are designed to get through to different parts of his Aboriginal constituency. There are dance cuts for the young groovers, country twang and rock for older people — some of which work better than others.

My favourite is "Red Dust Road", a country-flavoured road song about Coloured Stone's outback touring. It has an exuberance and freshness that does not come across as well in the dance tracks.

This CD is not a protest statement so much as a declaration of the nobility of endurance. "We are not extinct, we're all well and still alive", Lawrie sings in "Forgotten Tribe". "We will return, we will carry on, we will protect, we will preserve, we will survive, we will be strong, we'll keep the laws and our culture."

Such feelings have a power greater than any particular musical format. Coloured Stone have something important to say to Australia, and they are determined that it be heard.