Baker Boy and Mojo Juju were the big winners at this year’s National Indigenous Music Awards, which were presented under the stars at Darwin’s Amphitheatre on Saturday night.
The awards are Australia’s biggest celebration of First Nations music.
Baker Boy was awarded artist of the year and took to the stage for a surprise performance of his 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, in which she talks about identity, displacement and racism. “Every time you cut me down / I'm gonna come back fierce / The time is through for being nice / Let’s call it what it is.” It’s particularly poignant given 2019 is the United Nations’ Year of Indigenous Language; the song and its film clip are extraordinary.
Kaiit was awarded new talent of the year, Briggs took out film clip of the year for Life Is Incredible, and community clip of the year went to 15 Deniliquin High School students – known as the Deni Mob – for their song State Of The Heart.
Mojo JujuCredit:James Brickwood.
Inducted into the NIMA Hall of Fame were Melbourne-based trio Tiddas and Cairns jazz singer Wilma Reading.
Named after the Koori word for sisters, Tiddas was made up of Lou Bennett, Sally Dastey and Amy Saunders. Their harmonies were extraordinary, rather like those achieved by siblings. Playing together in the 1990s, theirs is part protest music, part celebration of life. The group broke up in 2000, calling their final album Show Us Your Tiddas, reclaiming what was a taunt thrown at them when they performed.
Briggs rewrote the lyrics for the Australian national anthem this year; Tiddas sang about its absurdity back in 1996, with their song Anthem. “We are the lucky country / Where anyone can win / If you were born to the right family / With the right coloured skin”.
The night also featured performances by Archie Roach, Jess 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, Wilma Reading and triple j Unearthed winner Dallas Woods.
Tiddas, with Archie Roach Credit:philip nitchie
Roach launched the Archie Roach Foundation’s Award recognising a NT artist in the early stages of their career, providing $2000 as well as mentoring from industry professionals, thanks to a donation from board member and inaugural ambassador Jack Charles.
The first ever recipient of the Archie Roach Foundation Award was new talent of the year finalist Mambali.
This year has been a massive year for Indigenous music but as Tiddas’ Amy Saunders said back in 1999, Aboriginal music has been around for years: “The rest of Australia is only now just clearing out its ears to listen."
2019 NATIONAL INDIGENOUS MUSIC AWARD WINNERS
Artist of the year
Album of the year
Mojo Juju – Native Tongue
Song of the year
Mojo Juju – Native Tongue
New talent of the year
Film clip of the year
Briggs – Life Is Incredible; Director: Dylan River
Community Clip Of The Year
Deni Mob – State Of The Heart
Hall of Fame Inductees
Archie Roach Foundation Award
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