From South Sudan to Sydney: Gordon Koang’s musical journey

October 24th 2019

Hailing from the Upper Nile region of what is now South Sudan, and now based in Melbourne, Gordon Koang and his cousin Paul Biel spent some time with Darren Lesaguis in the FBi studio, where he talked about his travels around the world and his musical journey to Australia as an asylum seeker.

An incredible performer with 9 studio albums under his belt, Gordon Koang is a household name in South Sudan. Blending traditional Neur rhythms with original compositions in English, Arabic and his native language, Neur, Gordon and his cousin Paul reflected on their journey around the world as asylum seekers and performers:

“In the past when we were travelling everywhere around the world we decided to take the music to all the countries. The first time I decided to go to the USA and Canada, and then I came to Australia in 2012. I’ve been back to South Sudan and when we went back we decided to seek asylum in Australia because the of the war that’s been happening in South Sudan. We love music, and we’ve decided to [continue to] do it.”

Koang’s latest single “Asylum Seeker” (released in August 2019) praises the courage of asylum seekers, and asks them to have patience in the long wait for permanent residency in Australia. In a message published with the release of this new single, Gordon expresses confidence in the Australian government to help asylum seekers by granting their residency and they hope that message will be heard. The song has added confidence given that Gordon and Paul have both recently been granted permanent residency here in Australia.

As well as music, Gordon and Paul have spent their last four years in Australia working closely with Music in Exile to help raise funds to reunite their family.

“That time we came here in 2012… our family was united because the community wanted to get ‘The King of Music’ to perform… it was a short time and we could see that Australia is a very multicultural country, and this is what we needed because we want all the people to know the culture and where we come from.”

Watch the full interview followed by a live song below, where Gordon explains more about how he earned his title ‘The King of Music’ and how his new Australian collaborations came to fruition.

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