Chris Tamwoy, who earned the nickname "Magic Fingers” for his skills as a virtuoso guitarist, captures audiences around the country with his music.
By
NITV

8 Jul 2015 - 12:38 PM  UPDATED 10 Jul 2015 - 10:16 PM

Chris, 19, has played at various major events and festivals including TEDx (Aus) and the Byron Bay Blues Festival.

He recently performed at the Woodford Folk Festival, the Port Fairy Folk Festival and the Byron Bay Blues Festival where he opened for the John Butler Trio. He featured in the pre-game entertainment at the NRL Indigenous All Stars game earlier this year, the Brisbane G20 Cultural Celebrations and NAIDOC Ball last year. 

FULL COVERAGE
NAIDOC 2015: the Awards and stories behind them
Videos, photos and stories of all the recipients of 2015 NAIDOC Awards, including mini-documentaries about their life, work and achievements. Plus straight from Adelaide, photos of the NAIDOC gala and acceptances speeches.

He is set to release his first EP in 2015 with the Impossible Odds Records label. He has been the subject of an SBS/NITV “Unearthed” documentary, has appeared on both Triple J and 612ABC Radio, and been the subject of many news articles, including in the Sydney Morning Herald.

He is originally from the Torres Strait Islands and says he is proud of his heritage. His mother is from Badu Island (Western Side) and Darnley Island (Eastern Side). His father is from Sabai and Boigu Island (Top Western Side) of Torres Strait.

Chris, who now lives in Brisbane, says he is passionate about improving Indigenous Australians’ health, such as lessening the prevalence of heart attacks, strokes, obesity and diabetes. He wishes to spread the message of health to communities around the country.

He says he is also passionate about ensuring First Peoples get an education, a desire he says was inspired by his grandma.

He says he is also passionate about ensuring First Peoples get an education, a desire he says was inspired by his grandma: "Chris my ngep [grandchild], when you grow up, you must get a job and you must sabe [know] how to cook and clean, and graduate from school," she told him.

Chris says he uses his music to promote tolerance.

One of his aims is to eliminate racism through: “Educating people that regardless of the colour of your skin, your accent, your identity or culture, the blood you shed is red and you're human just as much as the other person”.

In January 2013, Chris was about to commence his final year of school at Woodridge SHS in Logan, a city in southeast Queensland when his neighbourhood became the subject of national media attention. The 'race riots' in Douglas Street showed a community as broken and violent.

2015 NAIDOC Youth of the Year Chris Tamwoy with Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion

Determined to be a part of the solution, Chris joined with other Indigenous youth determined to challenge the media onslaught and the negative way that young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youths were being presented.

They formed the Logan First Nations Youth Assembly and throughout 2013 used social media to provide a voice for Indigenous youth.

He has volunteered as part of Logan Youth Arm in the effort to create lasting reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth in Logan City. His presentations to schools and volunteering in this space saw him nominated for the Logan City Council Australia Day Awards (Young Citizen of the Year).

He has been a supporter of the Recognise campaign and the National Indigenous Youth Leadership Academy.

In 2015 was elected as the Indigenous co-chair of the Logan Youth arm, Australia’s first youth reconciliation group connected with Reconciliation Queensland and Reconciliation Australia.

Currently he is preparing to undertake ‘Reconciliation Journey’ workshops to three high schools in Logan City.