The memory of the late Dr G Yunupingu stood tall as past, present and emerging musicians were honoured at the National Indigenous Music Awards (NIMAs) on Larrakia land on Saturday.
By
Rachael Hocking

12 Aug 2018 - 9:54 AM  UPDATED 12 Aug 2018 - 9:57 AM

The Yolŋu man who sang soulfully about his home, people and country continues to be honoured into the Dreamtime, taking out three of the night’s key awards. 

Dr G was named Artist of the Year, his posthumous album Djarimirri (Child of the Rainbow) - completed just weeks before his passing - picked up Album of the Year, and its title track was crowned Song of the Year. 

Speaking on behalf of the family, Dr G’s aunty Dorothy Gurruwiwi explained the importance of his music.  

“My nephew have gone and he spread his stories throughout his songs, he went far away across the sea and he has told the world that Indigenous peoples here today, we still have our culture and our language,” she said.

“This is his home, and this is where he belongs to.” 

Djarimirri (Child of the Rainbow) took six years to pull together. It tells the stories of Dr G's country in Yolŋu Matha to an orchestral backdrop. 

All-women band Karadajala Kirridarra celebrates NIMA nomination
Lead vocalist and songwriter of the all-female band Karadajala Kirridarra Eleanor Dixon talks to NITV about the band's latest album and being nominated for the 2018 NIMA’S.

His friend and musical collaborator Michael Hohnen from Skinnyfish Music said Dr G's musical ability was unparalleled, and that his songs and stories will live on forever. 

Mr Hohnen also paid tribute to singer, songwriter and actor T E Lewis on Saturday. He said the Murrungun artist will be remembered for his love of the half diminished chord, George Dreyfus and playing the mad King Lear.

“We loved him and we miss him very much,” he said. 

 

Country music legend, ‘Black Elvis’ Roger Knox talked about the healing power of music as he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. 

"My message is simple: love one another, love yourself, and if you're going to get anything, get understanding," he said. 

And a special achievement award was presented to the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir.

“I just want to make a shout out to my cousin, he’s looking down on me right now” 

The night was also full of artists carrying the flame for the next generation. 

21-year-old ‘proud, black Yolŋu boy’ Baker Boy was named Best New Talent and his hit single Marryuna took our Video of the Year.

The gifted rapper wrapped up the NIMAs with a huge performance, and closed with an emotional tribute to his cousin. 

“I just want to make a last shout out to my cousin, he’s looking down on me right now. He’s the one who made me go all the way to Brisbane,” he said.

Fellow nominee Wergaia and Wemba Wemba woman Alice Skye captivated the crowd early in the night with a live performance of her single Friends with Feelings, while young Arnhem Land rocker Yirrmal Marika reminded audiences why he is one of the best new talents to come out of the NT, previewing an upcoming single and joining Baker Boy on stage at the end of the night. 

The B-Town Warriors - a group of deadly young kids from Bourke, NSW –  were the night’s youngest award winners, taking out Community Clip of the Year for their track Thundercloud, produced by Desert Pea Media. 

The NIMAs expanded the awards this year to include two Traditional Music Award winners. This year it went to Buku-waṯthunawuy Nininyᶇu Rom and the Kenbi Dancers. 

Watch NITV's full coverage of the NIMAs: