Jen Cloher at The Deaf Institute
The Deaf Institute
7th June 2023
Jen Cloher (Ngāpuhi & Ngāti Kahu) is a songwriter and performer living on unceded Wurundjeri land in Naarm (Melbourne) Australia. Cloher’s taut, terse brand of rock is charged with the static tension that comes with being an eternal misfit; they have spoken truth to power with the shrewd eye that only an outsider can possess. Admirers have naturally gravitated towards Cloher’s incisive, generous songwriting. Over the course of five albums, they have won a J Award and an AIR Award and been nominated for an ARIA and the Australian Music Prize. In 2012 Cloher founded Milk! Records with Courtney Barnett releasing music from Sleater Kinney, Tiny Ruins, Hachiku and more.
On their first album in five years, Cloher finally breathes out. I Am The River, The River Is Me, their fifth album, is verdant and rich; it luxuriates in stillness, and carries itself with cool, unfussy confidence. It suggests that home is not found in a place or a politic, but in the community you keep: Inspired by Cloher’s powerful matrilineal line of wāhine Māori, I Am The River, The River Is Me is not urgent, or hurried, but it is vital. The joy of life, Cloher seems to say, is in forgiving your moments of weakness with grace, and embracing the parts of you that are unfinished.