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Gurrumul and The Medics score at National Indigenous Music Awards

Monday 13 August 2012

Gurrumul and The Medics score at National Indigenous Music Awards

The Medics swept the National Indigenous Music Awards (NIMAs) last Saturday night (August 11) in Darwin. The Queensland band took New Talent of the Year, Album of the Year for their debut Foundations (Footstomp/Warner) and Song of the Year for Griffin. 

In a poignant moment, Medics drummer and singer Jindhu joined his father, Bunna Lawrie, for a rendition of the anthemic Black Boy, recorded by Lawrie’s band Coloured Stone in 1984. 

Gurrumul Yunupingu took Artist of the Year for the second consecutive year, beating Troy Cassar-DaleyJessica MauboyBusby Marou and The Black Arm Band. Yunupingu’s collaboration Bayini with Sarah Blasko (Skinnyfish) took Cover Art of the Year, a second NIMA for artist/designer Carlo Santone from Blue King Brown

The appearance by young Arnhem Land band East Journey caused a stampede by the 2500-strong audience to the front of the stage at the Darwin Amphitheatre. Up for five nominations, they took home the NT Film Clip of the Year for Ngarrpiya which was filmed by directors Naina Sen and Susan Marawili around their home country in Yirrkala, and the G.R. Bururrawanga Memorial Award for outstanding contribution to the NT music industry. 

The latter award was presented by Yothu Yindi’s Mandawuy Yunupingnu, who holds superstar status in the Territory. It was the ill Yunupingnu’s first public appearance in years, and the crowd gave him a roaring welcome. Yunupingnu, the grandfather of East Journey singer Rrawun Maymuru, has been a mentor of the young band. 

The Traditional Music Award went to two different collaborations for the Song People’s Sessions. Warren H Williams & the Warumungu Songmen and Shellie Morris & the Borroloola Songwomen composed new arrangements with ancient languages to preserve for future generations. 

Winning over the audience was 17-year-old Brisbane singer-songwriter Thelma Plum, who won the Triple J-sponsored chance to open the awards. Plum, who is also up for a Deadly newcomer gong, later joined The Medics and Bunna Lawrie for a version of Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ In The Wind. 

Inducted into the NIMA Hall of Fame were the late Dr James Oswald “Jimmy” Little, and NT’s Sunrize Band and Lajamanu Teenage Band. 

The awards were a triumph for Northern Territory peak music association MusicNT, which has over recent years grown them from a NT-only event to a national one. Said its general manager Mark Smith, "With finalists from across the country I can confidently say that NIMA 2012 have arrived on a national scale. The goal of a truly national event celebrating the achievements and talents of Indigenous musicians is being realised."

- Christie Eliezer, The Music Network