Australia’s biggest celebration of First Nations music, the National Indigenous Music Awards celebrated a massive year in Australian music recently under the stars at Darwin’s iconic Amphitheatre with Baker Boy and Mojo Juju walking away as the night’s big winners.
Leading a definitive new generation of Indigenous musicians, Baker Boy walked home with Artist Of The Year following his success as Young Australian Of The Year with hit singles Mr La Di Da Di, Cool As Hell and In Control, he also took to the stage for a surprise performance of his enchanting single Black Magic during triple j Unearthed winner Dallas Woods’ set.
Mojo Juju was the night’s other big winner, taking home Song Of The Year and Album Of The Year for her defiant epic ‘Native Tongue’ and its title-track, telling a story of loss, anger and yearning for connection to traditional culture and language, a sentiment that is echoed in the United Nations’ Year Of Indigenous Language.
Other winners include Kaiit, who’s impressive debut EP ‘Live From Her Room’, the latest single Miss Shiney and live successes landed her New Talent Of The Year, Film Clip Of The Year went to Briggs for Life Is Incredible, and Community Clip Of The Year went to Deni Mob’s community strengthening State Of The Heart.
Also honored with induction into the NIMA Hall Of Fame were folk trio Tiddas and pioneering Cairns jazz singer Wilma Reading.
The night also featured performances from Uncle Archie Roach, Darwin royalty Jessica Mauboy, Dan Sultan, Eurovision alumni Electric Fields, Tasman Keith, Indigenous choir collective Spinifex Gum, Yorta Yorta soprano Deborah Cheetham, Larrakia nation’s Darwin Larrakia/Belyuen Dancers, violinist Eric Avery, a rousing show from Hall Of Fame inductee Wilma Reading and triple j Unearthed winner Dallas Woods.
During his performance Uncle Archie Roach made a special announcement from the Archie Roach Foundation, who with a generous donation from board member and inaugural ambassador Uncle Jack Charles, launched the Archie Roach Foundation’s Award recognizing a NT artist in the early stages of their career and providing $2000 to use towards growing their career as well as dedicated mentoring from industry professionals.
The first ever recipient of the Archie Roach Foundation Award was New Talent Of The Year finalist Mambali who have made an echoing boom this last year with shows at WOMAdelaide, Nannup Festival and Barunga Festival as well as pushing boundaries with their latest single and acclaimed video Yuwani featuring Emily Wurramara.
2019 has been one of the strongest years for Indigenous music with ARIA charting albums, commercial radio breakthroughs, national tours, Hottest 100 placements and acts playing festivals across the country.
The NIMAs would like to acknowledge the support of The Australia Council of the Arts in growing the event into easily the biggest and best yet. NIMA 2019 was not only a great concert and celebration, but also carried forward the air of community between artists and the public proving that First Nations music is not a genre, it’s a creative force in the global music industry that will continue to grow in the year ahead through to 2020’s National Indigenous Music Awards.