Two performers who wowed audiences at Bluesfest 2019 have taken out the top awards at the National Indigenous Music Awards (NIMAs) on Saturday night in Darwin.
It was no surprise that Danzal Baker, better known as Baker Boy and Mojo Juju were award recipients on the night.
Young Australian of the Year Baker Boy, who grew up in north-east Arnhem Land, won Artist of the Year.
‘I want to say thank you to all of you mob for supporting me and my career and giving me the power to keep moving forward and work hard every day for the next generation,’ he said in his acceptance speech.
Mojo Juju took the gongs for Song of the Year and Album of the Year Native Tongue.
‘Some of the best music in this country is being made by indigenous people,’ she said via video from Melbourne. ‘They’re people with things to say and that’s what makes it so powerful.’
Uncle Archie Roach, who was nominated for best album and best artist, gave the inaugural Archie Roach Foundation Award to rising NT act Mambali, from the Gulf of Carpentaria, to assist with industry mentoring and touring expenses.
The award was funded by a $2,000 bequest from Uncle Jack Charles, who recently appeared at the Byron Writers Festival.
Other award-winners on the night included Briggs (Film Clip of the Year) for Life is Incredible, directed by Dylan River, and Kaiit for New Talent of the Year for her debut EP Live From Her Room.
Legendary trio Tiddas were inducted into the NIMA Hall of Fame, along with veteran Cairns jazz singer Wilma Reading.
The audience was entertained by live performances from stars including Jessica Mauboy and Dan Sultan.
Country music star and NIMA Reference Group Chair Warren H. Williams said in the past year, Indigenous music has continued its meteoric rise to the top in Australia. ‘It’s pushing boundaries and finding its place in the forefront of art in our country.’
Baker Boy left the crowd with another inspiring message: ‘For all my young brothers and sisters, keep working hard and chasing them dreams. Don’t stop. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do anything’.