Baker Boy, Mojo Juju storm 2019 National Indigenous Music Awards
It’s no surprise that Baker Boys and Mojo Juju – who have given First Nation music its zeltergeist in their combining of personal politics with the call of their ancestors – stormed the National Indigenous Music Awards (NIMAs) on Saturday night.
The duo picked up the two major wins each under the stars at the Darwin Amphitheatre.
Baker Boy took home Artist Of The Year, later making a surprise (and enthusiastically received) appearance to sing new single ‘Black Magic’ during triple j Unearthed winner Dallas Woods’ set.
While accepting his prize, he told the audience, “I want to say thank you to all of you mob for supporting me and my career and giving me the power to keep moving forward and work hard every day for the next generation.”
The 22-year-old’s rapid rise to popularity is reflected in his NIMAs relationship: first appearing in 2017 as a triple j Unearthed competition winner, scoring Best New Talent last year, and now the big prize this year.
Mojo Juju received trophies for Song Of The Year and Album Of The Year for her defiant epic ‘Native Tongue’ and its title-track.
Appearing onstage one night after a sold-out Darwin Festival show (during which she confessed she didn’t think the song would be a hit but is pleased because it ‘now belongs to everyone’) she summed up the tone of the night:
“Some of the best music in this country is being made by First Nations people” and the nominees “really need to be heard, they’re people with things to say and that’s what makes it so powerful”.
Kaiit was New Talent Of The Year from her impressive debut EP Live From Her Room, revealing during her acceptance she was pleased she had ignored her teachers who’d dissed her ambition to become a musician.
The 21-year-old who’s now selling out shows confined to the crowd, “I felt lost for a long time but I’m viewing this reward as a reminder, a confirmation that I’m on the right path and I hope this is [a] reminder to do exactly what you want to do.”
Briggs landed Film Clip Of The Year for ‘Life Is Incredible’ (director: Dylan River), and Community Clip Of The Year went to Deni Mob’s community strengthening ‘State Of The Heart’
Inducted into the NIMA Hall Of Fame were folk trio Tiddas and pioneering Cairns jazz singer Wilma Reading.
The sell-out crowd was treated to one of the finest assemblings of First Nation talent – Uncle Archie Roach, Jessica Mauboy who wound up the show to a roar from her Darwin crowd, Dan Sultan, Electric Fields, Tasman Keith, indigenous choir collective Spinifex Gum, Yorta Yorta soprano Deborah Cheetham, Larrakia nation’s Darwin Larrakia/Belyuen Dancers, Mornington Island Dancers, violinist Eric Avery, and a rousing show from Wilma Reading who reminded all of her global achievements in the 1950s.
During his performance Roach made an announcement about the Archie Roach Foundation’s inaugural award recognising a NT artist in the early stages of their career.
Thanks to a $2,000 bequest from board member and inaugural ambassador Uncle Jack Charles, the fast-rising Mambali from Numbulwar in the Gulf of Carpentaria, get some funding towards touring and get industry mentoring.
Forming in 2008, fronted by Brad Bara, and with most of their songs in their native language Nunggubuyu, the seven-piece Mambali played the WOMAdelaide, Nannup and Barunga festivals last year, and received acclaim for their new video ‘Yuwani’ featuring Emily Wurramara.
Mambali were also NIMA New Talent nominees, alongside winner Kaiit, Dallas Woods, Kobie Dee and Tasman Keith.
As was noted a number of times from the stage, 2019 has been one of the strongest years for Indigenous music.
There have been ARIA charting albums, commercial radio breakthroughs, national tours, Hottest 100 placements and acts playing festivals across the country.
The Top 10 in the August 9 edition of the chart featured Jessica Mauboy, Busby Marou, Bajer Boy, Dan Sultan & Paul Kelly, Thelma Plum (twice), Birdz feat. Mojo Juju, Tia Gostelow, Aodhan, and Tasman Keith & Stevie Jean.