Deadly Aboriginal Artists - Mo’Ju
Mojo Ruiz de Luzuriaga, known professionally as Mo'Ju, is an ARIA nominated Australian musician, best-known for her 2018 album Native Tongue and the lead single of the same title. The single won the Best Independent Single category in the 2019 AIR Awards. She is a singer-songwriter who has created music in a number of genres.
Mo'Ju has toured with international performers and her music has been featured in a number of television shows. Her identity is a matter of pride and she spoken publicly and through her music about being Wiradjuri, Filipino and queer.
Mojo Ruiz de Luzuriaga was born in regional NSW. Her Father is Filipino, from Bacolod City, Negros and her Mother is mixed race, of Wiradjuri and European heritage. Her family moved around the region when she was a young child due to her Father's work. She has spoken openly about feeling like an outsider through her childhood and how this laid the grounds for her exploration of cultural identity in her work
Mojo grew up around music with a number of musicians in her Mother's family.
In a 2019 interview with The Feed on SBS Mo'ju said: "Traditions are really important and family histories give you an insight into your own identity. Songwriting is a huge part of keeping those oral traditions alive."
In 2006-2010, Mojo fronted a band called Mojo Juju & The Snake Oil Merchants. The band released two independent albums, Mojo Juju & The Snake Oil Merchants and Sellin' You Salvation.
In January 2012, Mojo Juju released her debut solo album. It featured the singles "Horse Named Regret" and "Must Be Desire", and was in a blues style, featuring a lot of guitar.
In August 2018, Mo'ju's third studio album Native Tongue was released, after four years in the making. The album explored her family history, identity and race politics.
She has spoken of the highly personal nature of the album and the single, saying they were about “allowing yourself to own all those different parts of who you are”. Responding to criticism by right-wing commentator Andrew Bolt who described the title track of the album as a complaint, Mo'ju said that it was in fact an “expression of some complex emotions, such as grief for a loss of culture and Indigenous languages and other impacts of assimilation, colonisation and the white-washing of non-western cultures. This is not a song of self-pity, but rather...a song of self-empowerment”.Mo'ju has said that performing this new material has "reignited her passion and purpose for music” but has also spoken out about the way women of colour and other diverse artists have been subject to tokenism in the industry.
- Sonya Forrest