Ahead of her performance at the upcoming Uprising: Songs of Resistance concert presented by Festival of Jewish Art and Music (FOJAM) and The Museum of Inherited Memories, award-winning opera singer and songwriter Jess Hitchcock chats with us about what the concert means to her, how we can better equip ourselves to combat racism and who she’s looking forward to seeing perform at the anticipated event next month.

Hey Jess, thanks for chatting with us today. How’s your year been so far?

This year has been crazy busy, but it’s exciting to get back into the full swing of things after last year. 

You’re penned to play the forthcoming Uprising: Songs of Resistance concert presented by FOJAM and The Museum of Inherited Memories. Tell us, what does this concert mean to you?

This concert is about the power of people coming together and expressing themselves on this important topic through the medium of music. There are strong correlations between many cultures around the world, who have stood up for themselves against their oppressors and as a First Nations artist on this project I am honoured to be able to tell part of my story. 

Are there any fellow artists on the lineup that you’re particularly keen to see?

I am very excited to see Kee’ahn play. I have seen this incredible woman create such a beautiful legacy for herself as an Aboriginal artist and am thrilled to be seeing her perform live for the first time. 

Why do you think it’s important for events like Uprising: Songs of Resistance to be happening in the current world political climate?

Music has the ability to soften the hardest of hearts. There are so many reasons to be uprising and resisting at this time in history and I believe that music holds a special place in that uprising. This concert will impart powerful messages and stories through song and create awareness around the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. 

What does ‘resistance’ mean to you? And how do you think people can better support the cause of global resistance to racism?

Resistance is about standing up for what you think is right and sometimes that means going against the grain. I think it comes back to something so simple that we are taught as children, ‘treat others as you would like to be treated’. This fundamental act of being kind to others is something that seems to have been forgotten and therefore we must stand up and peacefully fight for the rights of those who have been left without a voice. Everyone can support the global resistance to racism by speaking up, in small and large ways against the perpetrators of racism. 

What did you find you missed most during 2020 lockdowns? Will this be the first time you’re performing live since things have started to open back up again?

I missed performing and the energy of people gathering to see a show. There’s always a level of excitement right before a show starts, where the audience are talking in the crowd and then the lights come down and people stop talking, and right before the performers walk out on the stage, that moment! I missed that! And people applauding, I missed that too haha. This won’t be my first performance back, but it will be a very special show and one that I am very much looking forward to.

And finally, what’s next for Jess Hitchcock?

Next up I am working towards a new album that will be ready before the end of the year and in the meantime I will be working on Deborah Cheetham’s new opera with Parwang Lifts The Sky which will be performed at the Arts Centre in June.

FOJAM presents Uprising: Songs of Resistance
Thursday 8 April
Memo Music Hall, Melbourne
Performing: Djirri Djirri Dancers, Paul Kelly, Julia Stone, Deborah Conway, Harry Angus, Kee’ahn, Paul Grabowsky and Sophia Brous, Emily Lubitz, Shane Howard and Ernie Gruner, Jess Hitchcock, Maria Tumarkin, and Arnold Zable.
Doors: 7.00pm AEST
Show: 8pm – 9.30pm AEST

Memo Music Hall Tickets now SOLD OUT
Livestream tickets available at $18 single, $30 group

*Livestream tickets are redeemable for up to three days after the event
Tickets on sale now via www.fojam.com