Festival MCs Zeadala & Jessica Paraha


Zeadala is a poet and musician from South-West Sydney who avidly addresses themes of social inequality, politics and self-reflection in her works. 

The word Zeadala itself is an Arabic one for justice - aligning with her desire to uphold fairness and equality and challenge stereotypes through being a voice for women of colour who are underrepresented in Australia’s music scene.

A performer, inspirer and princess of the pen - Zeadala challenges normative narratives with her unique style, simple yet rhythmic guitar compositions, amiable vocals and bold lyrics. Her presence will warm your heart like a cup of honey and lemon tea and have you nodding to the truth she speaks. It is no wonder she has supported international artists like Omar Offendum at his exclusive concert in Sydney and Akala at his community talks during Sydney Ideas at The Seymour Centre.

Zeadala has been mentored by some of Sydney’s most respected female artists, including MC Trey and ALPHAMAMA who have supported some of Australian Hip Hop’s hard hitters such as Sarah Connor and P. Smurf with Stayfly Sydney- a crew of creative ladies in Hip Hop.

As an activist and environmental educator, Zeadala is able to effortlessly infuse her awareness with elements of rhythm and poetry and soulful melodies to create sounds that range from folk to bossa-nova to conscious Hip Hop. Think Laura Marling meets Lauryn hill. She performed at NSW Parliament House for the 2016’s International Women’s Poetry and Arts Festival and was on a panel that centred on transnational responses to injustice as part of Vivid Ideas Sydney 2016.

She performed at The Plot Festival among artists like Tash Sultana and Thelma Plum in 2016 and 2017. Supporting Sarah Connor, Zeadala had the opportunity to support Butterfingers as well as Atmosphere and Brother Ali at The Metro Theatre. She is currently working on her debut EP set to release in 2018.

A true creative and mesmerizing performer with spine-shiver worthy vocals, Zeadala is steadily making a name for herself in Sydney’s art scene.   

Jessica Paraha

Jessica Paraha is a multi-disciplinary artist who makes music, films, radio and tells stories.

She is a Ngati Hine Maori woman living on Cadigal land that comes from a long line of storytellers and myth-makers. Art comes from their whakapapa (genealogy), and through recalling them, they pay tribute to their tīpuna (ancestors).

Jessica’s practice is ethically community-minded, aimed at engaging and empowering her community to celebrate their voices. Currently, she is working as a facilitator in the Stories of Strength program with Zeadala, a storytelling project committed to encouraging young people in the Western Sydney Region to tell their own stories and engage with the lived experiences of their community. She is also a presenter on FBI radio, broadcasting local artists Sydney wide.

The foundations of her career began in film and television production coordination, with credits for her work at Animal Logic on The Lego Ninjago Movie (2017) and Peter Rabbit (2018), as well as The Living Universe (2018) with Essential Media.