Gabriel ‘DyspOra’ Akon is an award-winning Hip-Hop recording artist, sonic activist, poet and founder of the playback 808 Kingdom. The nomadic troubadour was born in South Sudan and raised across various locations in East Africa until his family migrated to the South Australian city of Adelaide.
After spending his formative years in a refugee camp in Kenya, DyspOra saw music as a key tool in breaking down cultural, lingual and racial barriers which led him to begin writing poetry at the age of 12 and graduate to writing rhymes by the time he was in high school. He honed his rhythm and poetry skills by learning from and deconstructing artists like 2Pac, Nas, The Fugees, Wu-tang, Fela Kuti, K’naan, KRS-1, Nyankol Mathiang and Bob Marley. The young MC first honed his poetry skills then began releasing weekly freestyle videos on YouTube in early 2010. It was during these early sessions with local producer Luke Chapman that DyspOra was first inspired to create the playback 808 imprint and began recruiting team members and future label mates.
Known for his sonic activism and dynamic lyrical abilities, DyspOra’s musical roots can be traced to various cultural soundscapes. The Playback 808 founder is the current ambassador for the Timpir Foundation which provides education to more than 1400 children in South Sudan. DyspOra has been featured in publications such as Swampland, VICE, and Advertising Agency 72 & Sunny’s book on Modern Australia. His story has been told on ABC news, SBS and Rolling Stone magazine and was recently named the 2017 best male artist at the South Australian music awards after a captivating performance of his single Open Road with Elsy Wameyo. The 25-year-old has performed at major events including Clipsal 500, Listen Out Festival, Root Down Festival, Miss Africa, Groovin The Moo, Scouted festival and Sanaa festival. These performances have allowed him to share the stage with Skepta, Skrillex, Paul Kelly, Hilltop Hoods, Amine, HorrorShow, Seth Sentry, Thundamentals, Funkoars, Kerser, Man Made Mountain and TKAY. After dropping the REBELUTION mixtape in 2017, and touring across East Africa in 2018, DyspOra is preparing to release his long awaited ‘AUSTRALIEN’ project in early 2019.
DyspOra will be joining the Opening Session on Tuesday 19 February from 9.15am – 10.30am.