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Culturally and linguistically diverse, Music

Aboriginal Filipino rapper, DOBBY, joined by surprise acts L-FRESH The LION and Sereen Omran, at celebration of multicultural creatives

Celebrate the artistic vibrancy and diverse cultural expressions of multicultural Australia 3 mins read

Filipino, Murrawarri and Ngemba artist, DOBBY will be joined by special guests, Aussie hip hop legend, L-FRESH The LION, and hard-hitting Palestinian-Australian creative, Sereen Omran, for a one-of-a-kind performance at New Beginnings Festival. 

The festival, produced by non-profit SSI, is being held on the wharves of the National Maritime Museum on Saturday, January 27, at 3 -11pm.  

DOBBY is set to perform unique collaborations with the duo, as well as his latest release ANCESTOR as a headliner at Sydney Festival’s most iconic celebration of refugee, migrant and First Nations artists.  

An electrifying storyteller, whose 2020 single, ‘I Can’t Breathe,' became an anthem for Australia's Blak Lives Matter movement, DOBBY is expected to play unreleased tracks from his highly anticipated album, WARRANGU; RIVER STORY. 

“I played New Beginnings Festival in 2022. That show was special for me, it marked a new stage in my career, and became one of my favourite shows I’ve played. I’m so excited to join the wholesome, vibrant and joyous array of acts again at this year’s New Beginnings Festival!  

“I’m also really excited to have my good friends L-FRESH The LION and Sereen joining me on the stage for this special show!” 

DOBBY is co-headlining the festival with rising Afro-Caribbean, Arrernte RnB and neo-soul artist SOLCHLD, alongside a lineup of Aussie artists from 15+ cultural backgrounds.  

SSI Arts and Culture Producer Raphael Brasil said, “As one of the most multicultural countries in the world, Australia’s creative industry is home to a melting pot of ideas, cultures, and talents. New Beginnings Festival embodies our diversity by showcasing an eclectic mix of music, dance, art, culture, and food from Australia’s leading culturally and linguistically diverse artists and entrepreneurs.”  

SSI’s New Beginnings Festival began in 2014 as a platform to use arts and culture to build bridges between refugee communities and wider Australia. From its origins, the event has evolved to include strong representation of both migrant and First Nations artists in recognition that true inclusion can only be achieved by acknowledging and celebrating diversity. 

Other New Beginnings Festival performers include: 

  • East-African pop band, ChikChika, which draws upon the rich traditions of both Tigrinya and Oromo music, with a healthy influence from contemporary Australia. 

  • DJ Deepa from Kerfew, an Australia-wide creative collective of South Asian musicians, designers and broadcasters who use art as a vehicle to explore, reimagine and celebrate the cultures and stories. 

  • Reggae Powerhouse, The Strides, whose music builds on the foundations of classic roots reggae with a hip-hop edge, forging a sound that brings together modern dance hall, dub beats and reggae-pop. 

  • Internationally acclaimed musicians, Avaye Rood, presenting a blend of Persian-inspired original music, combining English and Persian poems by Rumi. 

  • Ghana Road Show, an engaging combination of circus, dance, and music that will take you on a journey through West Africa. 

  • The Curious Works Showcase, an exhibition featuring visual art photography, and digital art that provides insight into the experiences of three refugee artists.  

After a turnout of nearly 6,000 Sydneysiders in 2023, New Beginnings Festival is again featuring as one of Sydney Festival’s major events, enabling underground artists and hidden gem stall holders to display their talents to an even wider audience.  

Guests can explore food stalls featuring cuisine from Jamaica to the Pacific Islands, to Sierra Leone, and market stalls with entrepreneurs selling wares from First Nations, refugee and migrant backgrounds.  

Mr Brasil said, “Now in its eighth year, New Beginnings Festival has showcased more than 363 performers and artists from across 80+ cultures – giving the public the opportunity to discover creatives often outside of their circle of understanding.” 

“Fostering a rich and diverse multicultural society is vital for all of us. Events such as the New Beginnings Festival play a unique role in igniting broader conversations about how we can foster a more inclusive society,” said Ms Daryl Karp, CEO and Director of the Australian National Maritime Museum.  

“New Beginnings is an important part of our summer Wonderwater program that is full of family friendly activities for kids of all ages.”  

How to join 

The free festival takes place on Gadigal Land, at the wharves of Australian National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour, on Saturday, January 27, 2024, at 3 -11PM and is open to people of all ages.  

The festival is proudly presented by non-for-profit organisation SSI and its partners, the Australian National Maritime Museum; Mundo Institute and BUZZ Speaker Hire; with Stage Partner Allianz, and Experience Partner Cultural Perspectives. 


Find out more 

About us:

About SSI 

Settlement Services International (SSI) is a community organisation and social business that supports newcomers and other Australians to achieve their full potential. We work with all people who have experienced vulnerability, including refugees, people seeking asylum and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, to build capacity and enable them to overcome inequality. Through community-led arts and culture initiatives, SSI Arts and Culture empower individuals through self-expression, bring communities together, and help build a stronger society where everyone is valued. 

Contact details:

Media enquiries 

SSI Senior Communications Officer Jordan Wood:  

M: 0431 233 392, E: 

Performer and event photos here.


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