It’s one thing to remain true to one’s roots. It’s another to plunge one’s roots deep into the soul… so deep that the roots themselves become indistinguishable from the soil one stands on. This is connecting to Country. Boorook’s roots run deeper than music. “The songs I write are inspired by my late grandfather, he was born in a bark hut in the early days and I learned my Indigenous Aboriginal history from him, from the beautiful dreamtime stories of my Ancestors to the stories of the struggles and hardships.” The name “Boorook” commemorates a matriarchal elder. “‘Boorook’ is the name where my grandfather’s grandmother was born,” Boorook noted. “It’s a natural water spring that’s over just a bit from an old volcano. Our people have a strong belief that our rivers and our wetlands are the veins in the earth.”
Boorook traces his ancestry to the Kirrae Whurrung tribe. Prior to European colonization of so called Australia, the Kirrae Whurrung occupied nearly 2,000 square miles of land. In English, the name Kirrae Whurrung means “blood lip language.” “Our lands were volcanic area lots,”
explained Boorook. “We build from volcanic stones. We have stone fish traps and stone huts made from volcanic stones. Some of our stone arrangements are older than the pyramids. We’ve got ancient stories of trade links with other nations of the world and them coming to learn deep spiritual knowledge from our old people.”
Boorook’s latest album Positive Change serves as both a lament of the atrocities of modern living and a call to return to nature. “I like to use my songs as a vehicle to educate people on the untold histories of my people,” Boorook said. “The lyrics should resonate with other nations of the world, as there are similarities.” Positive Change brings a folk ethic, a lo-fi sound, and an uplifting theme. “The opening track is ‘Mother Earth,’’ said Boorook. “It’s about caring for our Mother. I’m trying to link my cultural ancestry into mainstream music. To have a good message for the young people… a good message of hope… a message of getting back to our roots. Showing care for country, care for people. Respect for the elders.”
Boorook self-produced a music video for the Positive Change song “Face Your Fears.” The music video depicts Boorook performing a Kirrae Whurrung ceremony called “ngootyoong kaaween.” He explained that the purposes of this smoking ceremony are twofold. First, the smoke serves to cleanse the spirit of oneself and an area impacted by a tragic event. Second, the ceremony serves as communication between the spirit world and sending a message to other tribes. “I didn’t realize at the time,” Boorook recalled. “But when I wrote that song [Face Your Fears] and recorded it, the next day I found out about the passing of my auntie. Sometimes I feel like I’m being channeled with my songs — from a higher ground, so to speak. I feel like someone is guiding me, writing these songs. When I found out she had died, I almost felt like she was guiding me in writing that song,”
Boorook said fans could expect a lot more material from him in the near future. He is actively seeking collaborations with other Indigenous and mainstream artists. He wants to bring his music to new audiences and new heights. “Jump on board,” said Boorook. “Follow my social media accounts. I’ve got some really exciting music projects coming up very soon.”
Stream Boorook’s music and follow him on social media channels via the links below.