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Words & Photos By Steve 'Habibi' Kelk

The annual National Indigenous Music Awards was a bittersweet event this year, both celebrating established and rising Indigenous talent and mourning the passing of a true Indigenous musical legend and icon.

Amongst the presentation of awards were powerful live performances from artists from across the country, each to a rapturous reception. Pride and grief were in equal measure this year however, with the passing of Dr. G Yunupingu – an emotional and fitting tribute by family members and artists during the event went a long way towards helping people to heal.

The performances were truly outstanding, with Triple J Unearthed winner Baker Boy opening things with a bang – the sheer physicality of his performance leaving our photographer running to catch up. An absolutely jaw-dropping performance from newcomers and New Talent of the Year winner Electric Fields set the Amphitheatre abuzz, both in front of the stage and backstage – this duo are a truly charismatic act.

More sublime but no less enthralling were songstresses Emily Wurramara and Darwin legend Leah Flanagan, while Alice Springs virtuosos Apakatjah brought their wonderful mix of Indigenous voice and flamenco-style guitar. 2016 NIMA winner Gawurra once again graced the NIMA stage with his soulful songs and the visually spellbinding Numbulwar Red Flag Dancers filled the stage with colour.

AB Original (with Dan Sultan and Darwin’s Caiti Baker) got the place bouncing with special guest Paul Kelly, who also gave a solo performance. As mentioned, the tribute to the late Dr. G served to both remember the much loved artist and to celebrate his life and his work.

Foldback Magazine was honoured to once again be part of the NIMAs and Darwin Festival and we look forward to NIMA 2018.

Words and pics by Steve Habibi Kelk


Artist of the Year: Troy Cassar-Daley

Song of the Year: AB Original ft. Dan Sultan – ‘January 26’

Album of the Year – ‘Things I Carry Around’ – Troy Casar-Daley

New Talent of the Year – Electric Fields

Film Clip of the Year – AB Original ft. Dan Sultan – ‘January 26’

Triple J Unearthed High Indigenous Award – Rebecca Hatch

Community Music Clip of the Year – ‘Save the Water’ – Halls Creek Indigenous Hip Hop Project


Wangga: Complete CD Set

Galiliwa Nunggarrgalu, John Lalbich for Mardayin Skin Ceremony 2016 Numbulwar

John Murrungun, Samson Ngalmi, Samuel Ngalmi for Mardayin Skin Ceremony 2016 Numbulwar

Jeff Nunggarrgalu, Graham Nunggarrgalu for Numburindi Festival 2016 Numbulwar

Giningayi Ngalmi, Richard Ngalmi for Numburindi Festival 2016 Numbulwar

Kerwin Murrungun, David Murrungun, Dean Austin Bara, Bradley Bara for Numburindi Festival 2016 Numbulwar

National Indigenous Music Awards MusicNT triple j Unearthed Baker Boy Electric Fields Music Emily Wurramara Leah Flanagan Apakatjah Gawurra Red Flag Dancers A.B. Original Briggs Caiti Baker Dan Sultan Paul Kelly Foldback Magazine Steve Habibi Kelk

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