A particularly emotional National Indigenous Music Awards (NIMAs) this year, with vibrant tributes to renowned musician and Yolngu man, the late Dr G Yunupingu. The stage was alive with colour yellow, the cultural dress of the Yolngu dancers from Elcho Island.
Toward the end of the evening, Dr G's uncle (whom Dr G called 'Papa') addressed the crowd with a touching recount of Dr G's life. He talked of a young boy who always loved music and would click his tongue like the rhythm of a metronome, to growing up and being approached to join the Yothu Yindi band in the 1980s.
A unique performance celebrated his legacy, fusing together the contemporary hip-hop of A.B Original (rapping duo, Briggs & Trials) and the traditional singing of members of the Salt Water band (Dr G's former bandmates).
Earlier on in the evening, the NIMAs kicked off with an energetic performance by rising star Yolngu rapper, Baker Boy who was this years' triple j unearthed Indigenous winner. The multi-talented artist, works across rap, dance and street art, and hopes to inspire younger generations to embrace their culture and become leaders in their communities.
Captivating performances by Emily Wurramurra, Apakatjah, Leah Flanagan, Gawurra and music legend, Paul Kelly followed throughout the night with audiences pressed up against the stage barrier shouting, dancing and snapping photos of their favourite musicians under the spotlight. But it was not the acts in the mainstream charts that stole the show. The Red Flag Dancers from Numbulwar who performed their dynamic cultural dance were one of the biggest crowd-pleasers.
Another evening highlight was the duo who claimed the Best New Talent Award, Electric Fields. The electronic dance-pop is comprised of Zaachariaha Fielding who sings in both, English and the language of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara people, and Michael Ross, a music producer. With an energetic performance of contemporary beats as a bed for Zaachariaha's sensational vocals and his spiritual dancing, Darwin Royal Botanic Gardens felt electric. After playing their final note, the crowd yelled "One More!" in repetition, with host Catherine Satour arriving back on stage saying, "Wow. I'm going to have to pull myself together after that."
Popular hip-hop artists A.B Original took out the major awards including Song of the Year for their hit, 'January 26' and Best Music Video for the same track. Music legend, Troy Casser-Daley also lead the charge with Album of the Year for 'Things I Carry Around' and the top award, Artist of the Year.
“Things I Carry Around is one of the most personal things I’ve ever made and talking about my family in depth like that and my culture as well was vitally important to what the album meant,” said Cassar-Daley from a video recording, as he was unable to attend the event itself.
List of winners:
SONG OF THE YEAR
A.B. ORIGINAL – January 26
MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR
A.B. ORIGINAL – January 26
BEST COMMUNITY MUSIC VIDEO
HALLS CREEK - Save The Water “Ngaba”
BEST NEW TALENT
TRADITIONAL MUSIC AWARD
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
NITV was LIVE at the #NIMAs - head to our FB page to see the performances from all the guests on stage at the Darwin Botanic Gardens.