Music played a huge part in my upbringing. I’m a Melanesian, Tolai woman from Rabaul in Papua New Guinea and in my homeland, music exists everywhere. Within ritual, custom, ceremony, right through to everyday life. In the village, folks are singing all the time – from when they’re lighting fires early in the morning to start the day, right through to late at night.

Namila Benson

We migrated to Australia in the 1970s, as Dad was a broadcaster at the ABC. He’d purchase music but would also borrow new release records from the ABC sound library to bring home. Vintage stereos, record players and the radio were constantly on in our household. So I grew up surrounded by an amazing music education and collection (part of that collection I inherited and built into my own family’s few thousand records which we own!).

Dad was into soul, blues, reggae and funk, and Mum introduced me to singers like Aretha Franklin and Ella Fitzgerald. Mum really got into an array of female vocalists and girl groups. She also loved the music of our...