Marlene Cummins was born in the southwest town of Cunnamulla in Queensland on the 23rd of January 1954. Her family lived on an Aboriginal fringe camp, and as Aboriginal people were not treated as citizens until 1968. Marlene says her traditional homelands are Laura up Cape York way on her Fathers (Guguyelandji) side, and Keppel Island (Woppaburra) on her Mothers side. Marlene was raised with a very political ‘grassroots’ upbringing as her father Darcy Cummins was a pioneer in fighting racial injustice, and, just like her father she likes to use music as a medium to make the world a better place to live in. Marlene knows the Blues from an Aboriginal perspective in this country. As a child and later in life she became a member of the first and only Australian Black Panther Party. She’s had many dealings with authorities due to an outspoken stance on political issues committed against Aboriginal people.
Marlene performs three of her original works, including Insufficient Funds, Pension Day Blues, and Pemulwuy. Pemulwuy, she explains, is a spiritual sacred song.