• Bart Willoughby performs on Melbourne Town Hall's Grand Organ.
The Melbourne Indigenous Arts Festival will kick-off tomorrow, featuring a diverse range of performances for all ages.
Tara Callinan

4 Feb 2014 - 3:57 PM  UPDATED 4 Feb 2014 - 8:28 PM

Pioneering Aboriginal musician, Bart Willoughby will take the stage and become the first Indigenous artist to record and perform on Melbourne Town Hall's Grand Organ.

He is among many Indigenous performers specialising in theatre, music, literature, film, cabaret and dance.

His work, 'We Still Live On' combines classical music with poetry to pay homage to the late poet and activist, Kevin Gilbert.

"When I write words and do my song that's exactly the way I feel, and Kevin Gilbert's the same, if not more. So if there's any songwriters out there, if you can't get the words and that, just go to your poets," said Mr Willoughby.

He has also drawn inspiration from personal stories to explore Aboriginal history and acknowledge his families past.

"My life’s a bit tragic, I actually come from Maralinga and my grandparents were, excuse the phrase, ‘put down’ after the bombs went off and that's how come I ended up in South Australia, Adelaide, in the babies' home," he said.

"I went from babies home to boys home, to childrens' home and I went through a whole lot and that's because of what happened in Maralinga,” said Mr Willoughby.

His free, one-off performance will take place in Melbourne's Town Hall on February 12.