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News December 10, 2021

Emma Donovan & The Putbacks dominate Music Victoria Awards

Senior Journalist, B2B
Emma Donovan & The Putbacks dominate Music Victoria Awards
Emma Donovan in full flight (pic by Martin Philbey)

Emma Donovan & The Putbacks dominated the 17th Music Victoria Awards at the Recital Hall this week (December 9) with three wins.

They also finished the night with a stunning performance of ‘Don’t Give Up On Me’.

The soul-jazz ensemble took home best group, best album for Crossover and best soul, funk, R’n’B or gospel act.

When Hiatus Kaiyote came up to the stage to pick up best song for ‘Red Room’, they mock-grumbled it was about time they won something over The Putbacks.

“There’s a real feud going on here,” they insisted.

Which of course there wasn’t as pianist Simon Mavin plays in both bands.

In any case, the night – hosted by Myf Warhurst who kept things moving – was no place for feuds or negativity.

It was the first major meeting for Melbourne’s music sector in two years, and emotions were running very close to the surface.

Winners talked up other nominees, expressed the absolute joy of playing live music again, thanked family and friends who financially kept their heads above water, and many burst into tears that the two-year nightmare was possibly over.

Arts minister Danny Pearson who turned up unexpectedly to announce each winner was getting an extra $500 from the government, commended the sector for “the sacrifices” and being “a pillar of strength over the past couple of years”, and the “vital work” of Music Victoria.

A highly emotive Donovan of the Noongar and Gumbaynggirr people, when accepting the best album win, recalled the exhilaration of evoking two languages of her ancestors for the record.

Similarly, hip hop winner DRMNGNOW drew a line from his music to the spirit of his ancestors and couldn’t believe how it was now being accessed by so many people.

Allara who took the Archie Roach Foundation Award for emerging talent told the audience how seeing Roach in concert as an 11-year-old defined what it was to be a First Nations person.

She later became his bassist before going solo.

Eliza Hull expressed how important the inaugural Arts Access Victoria Amplify Award (for deaf and disabled acts) was in moving towards acceptance, and how she’d once hidden her physical disability because of the stigma attached to it.

Kylie Minogue was inducted into the Hall of Fame by journalist Cameron Adams.

“This is extra special to me as this is my hometown, the place where my musical journey began back in 1987 when Mushroom released my first single, The Locomotion,” she said, before paying tribute to Michael Gudinski.

The late community radio broadcaster, musician, photographer and art designer Pierre Baroni was inducted by friend Ginger Light, PBS 106.7FM presenter Vince Peach and Australian Music Vault’s Olivia Jackson, with Jimmy Barnes and Archie Roach sending in video messages.

Pictured: Hiatus Kaiyote / Photographer: Martin Philbey

Music Victoria Awards winners (public vote)

Album: Emma Donovan & The Putbacks – Crossover

Group: Emma Donovan and The Putbacks

Song: Hiatus Kaiyote – ‘Red Room’

Solo artist: Sampa the Great

Breakthrough act: Maple Glider

Musician: Mindy Meng Wang

Live act: Amyl and The Sniffers

Music Victoria Awards winners (industry vote)

Archie Roach Foundation Award for Emerging Talent (for First Nations acts): Allara

Arts Access Victoria Amplify Award (for deaf and disabled acts): Eliza Hull

Regional/outer suburban act: Baker Boy (Ocean Grove)

Blues act: Dan Dinnen & Shorty

Country act: The Weeping Willows

Electronic act: Female Wizard

Experimental or avant-garde act: Candlesnuffer

Folk act: Charm of Finches

Heavy act: Dr. Colossus

Hip hop act: DRMNGNOW

Intercultural act: Ajak Kwai

Jazz act: Andrea Kellar

Pop act: Alice Skye

Reggae and dancehall act: JahWise Productions

Punk/rock act: Civic

Soul, funk, r’n’b or gospel act: Emma Donovan & The Putbacks

Kylie gets inducted (Pic by Martin Philbey)

Hall of Fame

Pierre Baroni

Kylie Minogue

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