"Mojo Juju is a killer vocalist, songwriter and musician, this we have known for years. But the skill to make a record of such disparate sounds come across so cohesively cannot be taught. Native Tongue works so brilliantly as a whole because it’s real. Mojo reaches deep on these songs and lays more of herself on the line than many others would have the guts to do." - Double J
"We’re calling it: Australia’s Music Video of the Year Has Dropped." - SBS THE FEED
"One of the most thematically vital Australian Albums of the year." 4.5 Stars, The Australian
Mojo Juju's highly anticipated and incredibly personal third studio album Native Tongue is out via ABC Music / UMA.
Garnering rave reviews for her brutally honest title track "Native Tongue", and amassing new fans along the way, Mojo's star is on the rise with NATIVE TONGUE picking up feature albums across Double J, PBS, RTR and Edge Radio, as well as just being announced as support for Paul Kelly's "Making Gravy" Tour in Brisbane & Melbourne.
Sitting down with SBS The Feed, Mojo discussed the importance of telling her family story through the album togain a better understanding ofwho she isas a person and asan artist.Mojo explains: "This album is about my relationships with Ancestry and Elders and how family history has informed a great deal of who I am. In a lot of ways, I wrote this album for my younger self, because as a kid growing up in regional Australia, I would have benefited so greatly from having heard more stories from, by or about other people of colour, queer people, people like me. I wanted this to be an album for First Nations People, 1st generations, 2nd generations and 3rd Culture kids."
To coincide with the release, she has announced a massive 21 date national tour which sees her set off across the country from September through November, playing major cities and regional towns. Mojo has partnered up with PLUS1 for the tour, a charity that supports Aboriginal Legal Service, working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People to provide culturally appropriate legal services, influence positive change, and increase access to justice. For each ticket sold, there will be $1 added on which will go towards PLUS1 to help make a difference
NATIVE TONGUE is a fitting title for the third studio album from Mojo Juju and it is her very essence laid bare. It is raw, honest, emotional and intrinsically political. It is also brutal and relentlessly real. Since cutting her teeth and making a name for herself on the Australian touring circuit in the late 2000s, Mojo Ruiz de Luzuriaga, a.k.a Mojo Juju, has been many things to many people. She's been a troubadour, a soothsayer, a shapeshifter and a darn good songwriter.
Now, after a decade honing the art of story-telling, she's made the boldest move imaginable; she has decided to finally just be the story. 'Native Tongue' is exactly that; Through the telling of family history and her own personal experiences, Juju explores her relationships with Elders and Ancestry and how that informs her own identity. Contemplating her Mother’s Indigenous heritage, her Father’s experience as a Filipino immigrant and her own place in the cultural landscape of modern Australia, it is an album about self-discovery and it is her most sincere, heartfelt and personal offering to date. “One of the most crucial elements in order to know who you are is to know where you’ve come from, to know your roots. We’ve all heard it before but it really started to resonate with me. I started to think about the importance of oral traditions, how songs are such a huge part of that. I wanted to document these stories from my family, as well as my own experiences with identity and culture. So, delving into my family history is only the beginning of the story, but I think it’s a very good place to start. ”Stylistically, Juju once again embarks on new territory through collaborations with multiple producers – Steven Schram (Paul Kelly), Joel Ma (a.k.a. Joelistics), jnbo (The Cactus Channel) and Jamieson Shaw (Netflix series ‘The Get Down’), and includes a number of features from an eclectic array of guests; Hip Hop MC Mirrah (L-Fresh The Lion), Soul music royalty Joshua Tavares and spoken word artist Lay the Mystic. The album opens with the latest single and title track to her new album, 'Native Tongue’, and it cuts directly to the bone.
Lead by an absolutely mesmerising beat (courtesy of Joelistics) and the haunting vocal work of the Pasefika Vitoria Choir, Juju treats these opening moments like a live exorcism; she takes a hand over either side of her chest and turns herself completely inside out, laying her innermost workings bare for all to see. She pulls no punches and offers no quarter, tearing at the foundations of the institutionalised prejudices she has had to face as a mixed race, queer woman, growing up in a country with no place for her, never feeling enough a part of any one community to be accepted. It is a song that manages to be so personal and painful, yet simultaneously empowering and anthemic, as though it were written for every mixed race or Indigenous person who has ever felt like they did not belong. This time around Juju has taken her eclectic influences and created a seamless and authentically original sound, continuing her dedication to bucking labels, bending genres and doing her own thing. Perhaps the manifold musical incarnations of Juju are symbolic of the manifold pieces that make up her identity. Perhaps this unique blend of Soul, RnB, Blues & Hip Hop is in fact her ‘Native Tongue’.