• Gurrumul, whose ethereal voice and grand artistry will be honoured in the NIMAs Hall of Fame. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
Stars will be in attendance for Blak music's night of nights, the first live NIMAs ceremony since COVID began.
Dan Butler

3 Aug 2022 - 9:57 AM  UPDATED 3 Aug 2022 - 11:31 AM

Blak music's highest honour will be bestowed on late Yolŋu songman Gurrumul at the National Indigenous Music Awards this Saturday. 

Before a crowd of the best and brightest in First Nations music, the beloved singer and songwriter will be inducted into the NIMA Hall of Fame.  

A former member of Yothu Yindi, Gurrumul garnered international attention with the release of his debut album in 2008, which sold more than 200,000 copies and collected numerous awards.

The blind guitarist and vocalist, who died in 2017, joins fellow singer-songwriter Archie Roach and his old band in NIMAs' revered ranks. 

Jasmine Yunupingu and Michael Hohnen perform during a tribute to Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu during the 32nd ARIA Awards at The Star, in Sydney, Wednesday, November 28, 2018. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett) NO ARCHIVING

Saltwater Band's Manuel Dhurrkay, a former bandmate of Gurrumul, will give a special performance to mark his entrance into the Hall of Fame.

He'll be further honoured on Thursday with a performance of his feted track ‘Buŋgul’ with help from the Darwin Symphony Orchestra. 

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Return to live event

Anticipation is building for Saturday's event, the first live ceremony since the advent of COVID-19.

Blak royalty from all spheres will be in attendance, with appearances from Uncle Jack Charles, Senator Malarndirri McCarthy, stellar musicians and more. 

baker boy on the didgeridoo

They'll be joined over the evening by a roll call of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island musical excellence, including Thelma Plum, King Stingray, Emma Donovan & the Putbacks, Birdz & Fred Leone, Yirrmal, J-MILLA and the Red Flag Dancers.

With the irrepressible Stephen Oliver appearing as MC, NITV's own Tanisha Stanton and Tyrone Pynor will be hosting the live broadast.

However, the joy of the evening's festivities will no doubt be somewhat tempered by last week's crushing announcement of the death of Blak music's grand Elder, Archie Roach.

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Malyangapa Barkindji powerhouse Barkaa looks set to nab her first NIMA gong: the rapper heads the nominee list with four mentions, including for her tracks 'King Brown' and 'Black Matriarchy', and as New Talent of the Year. 

Fellow wordsmith Baker Boy is close behind with three nominations following the much-anticipated release last year of his debut album 'Gela'.

The nominee list also includes some of the brightest lights in the country's music scene, including previous finalists and winners The Kid Laroi, Jessica Mauboy, Electric Fields, Miiesha, Mo Ju, Dallas Woods, and Archie Roach. 

Jem Cassar-Daley, Lil Kootsie, Dobby and dameeeela are receiving their first ever nominations.

The NIMAs will be simulcast live on NITV and SBS VICELAND, Saturday 6 August 7.30pm, and will be available to stream on SBS On Demand.