Interview: Omar Musa talks fierceness, poetry and lak$a

Words by Haneen Martin

If you haven't heard of Omar Musa, he is a Malaysian-Australian rapper/poet/author/general dispensary of wise words from Queanbeyan, New South Wales and an absolute delight/inspiration.

Musa is touring Adelaide, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne in a spontaneous “fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants” whirlwind visits of his latest self-published offering Millefiori. Strongly inspired by fierceness and fearlessness of Remi's latest album, Divas and Demons, Musa brings us love poems, political poems, some raps and poems he describes as tackling “racism and the politics of the fear in this post-Trump, post-Brexit era.”

If you caught Musa's EP Dead Centre released last year (which featured an ode to laksa, be still my beating heart), you would know that he is not one to shy away from difficult conversation. Millefiori, Italian for “a thousand flowers” inspires melancholic and ethereal beauty, regret and goodbyes combined with the political act of including Malay words as a nod to his own background and a long-established culture of poetry.

Taken from Omar Musa's third book of poetry "Millefiori", released on April 10th, 2017. Video by Entropico. Keys by Freddy Crabs.

By using Malay words in his poetry, Musa highlights the fact that Australians are so monolingual that to embrace his heritage is a "radical and political act", as well as a form of bridge-building and self exploration. "I was ashamed and kind of scared to connect with my grandparents and my heritage...but it was so worthwhile and so fulfilling."

Then we started talking about food, like good Malaysian-Australians.

 

Order "Millefiori" here or grab your copy tonight (April 18) at 6:30pm at SA Writers Centre, 187
Rundle Street featuring Adelaide's own Dialect and Gemma Boyd