Gordon Koang has been blind since birth. He spent most of his life in South Sudan. When a tribal civil war broke out in his homeland while the Afro-pop artist was on tour in Canada in 2013, his bank accounts were frozen and emptied, his cars were taken and his house was bulldozed. He and his family fled to Uganda and eventually Australia (of all places), where they spent six years waiting to be granted permanent residency. All of which raises the question: If he can go through all that and still produce an album as irresistibly, infectiously upbeat, life-affirming, celebratory and inclusive as the tellingly titled Unity — which also features song titles like Stand Up (Clap Your Hands) and We Don’t Have A Problem With Anyone — what the hell do any of us really have to complain about?
THE PRESS RELEASE: “Gordon Koang is a Nuer musician, hailing from the banks of the River Nile in what is now South Sudan. Born blind, he began playing music on the streets of Juba as a young man though has now become a grassroots hero, the voice of the Nuer people, a prominent figure in the fight for cultural independence in South Sudan, affectionately known as the King of Music. Unity is Gordon’s first album since coming to Australia. It is his only recorded output in the painstakingly long six years of living as an asylum seeker, and the album was completed just weeks before Gordon was awarded his permanent residency. In late 2019, Gordon began a series of collaborations with musicians from around Australia, in search of a new sound that would be suited to his adopted home. He now proudly calls himself an Australian, a term which so many from around the world have come to know as their own. Through his recordings, Gordon hopes to reach as many new listeners as he can around the world. He wants everyone to hear his message — on the radio, in clubs, at festivals, on the street. And what is this message? Unity. Peace between all people of the world, regardless of religion or cultural differences. A painfully first-hand experience of what these rifts can create between people has led Gordon to devote his life, and his music, to a simple message of peace, love and unity. Love each other, and love yourself. It’s not so hard!”