Nannup Music Festival draws Indigenous artists

Young, strong and motivated: Self-taught guitarist Chris Tamwoy.

Young, strong and motivated: Self-taught guitarist Chris Tamwoy.

THIS year’s Nannup Music Festival will showcase a number of incredible Indigenous artists from around Australia.

These artists all have that special something that will draw audiences in and leave them wanting more.

Emerging from the deserts of Central Australia is the unique sound of Apakatjah, who combine intricate guitar work with ancient languages, stirring harmonies and traditional instruments.  The word ‘apakatjah’ is a Luritja kriol word for a person of mixed race heritage, which the duo have reclaimed to demonstrate the pride they have in their identity and to draw strength from their culture.

Chris Tamwoy is a self-taught guitarist with a unique playing style and sound. Spending his childhood years on the island of Badu in the Torres Strait, he now resides in Brisbane. Tamwoy has attracted a lot of attention in recent years including talented Australian musicians, local and national radio stations, television shows, print media, and TEDx organisers. He recently won the National NAIDOC AWARD for Youth of the Year (2015).

Original singer/songwriter David Spry draws influence from his world travels and relates this to his Indigenous Australian heritage through heartfelt, powerful and uplifting songs. From a long line of storytellers, Spry uses his inherited gift and shares his experiences in a contemporary style of roots music with a uniquely upbeat vibe.

Dora Smith is an indigenous singer/song writer that comes from Broome, Western Australia. The 23 year old musician first started learning the guitar at age 12 and then later began song writing at 15 and has been doing it ever since. Smith creates punk pop music with a tinge of girly rap and also beatboxes in her songs. "Music is medicine, it can heal you and I guess my guitar makes the perfect therapist,” she said. She wishes to inspire people to always follow their dreams and to never let self-doubt stop them from truly trying in life.

Kankawa Nagarra (Olive Knight) sings real, traditional Blues with a hint of Gospel and the added flavour of ancient Walmatjarri language. If anyone has the right to sing the blues it's Kankawa; her parents watched their land get taken away, then she was taken away from her parents. This grandmother of the blues was discovered by Desert Feet Tour in the remote community Wangkatjunka, and with a line-up consisting of Lucky Oceans, Dave Mann and Rob Findlay, seeing this show is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

In The Truth is in There, Olive will take us on a journey through her experience as a human activist, language translator, health worker, mother and Elder as she talks about her story of disenfranchisement and return to hope and her ideas on how to make the changes needed for the next generation. The session will take a questions and answers format with a few acoustic songs along the way.

Rayella is a family band from Marlinja Community, located approximately 730 kilometres south of Darwin in the remote Northern Territory of Australia. Raymond Dixon and his daughter Eleanor are the driving force behind the beautiful melodies and stories that emerge from the engaging music this group bring to any performance, be it a campfire sing along or a festival in front of thousands. Lead singer Eleanor’s magical voice paired with her father's skilful guitar playing and harmonising captivate audiences with their honest, emotive tunes about family, country and culture. Eleanor has assumed an important role as a strong Indigenous female leader sharing her messages and stories to empower other females of all ages to feel confident and proud to step - up and chase whatever their dreams and goals in life may be.

In Clap Stick Making with Raymond, Raymond Dixon has brought some timber from his homeland, and will show you how to craft your own clap sticks. The wood is limited, but if no wood is available you can happily watch and listen.

Sean Choolburra is known and acknowledged as the funniest and most enduring Aboriginal Australian comedian. Born in Townsville, Queensland coming from a family of twelve, his comedy is created from a wide variety of life time experiences, stories and observations. Choolburra is a proud Aboriginal man who maintains and practices the cultural traditions of his father’s people the ‘Girramay’ and his mother’s people the ‘Kalkadoon, Pitta Pitta and Gugu Yanlanji’, which he draws on when he delivers cultural workshops and shows.

Desert Sevenz, Hill Boyz and E Town Boyz are a hip-hop crew from three different remote Aboriginal communities spanning a radius of 700km. With members ranging from 19-23 years of age, they live in what’s known as the Barkly region, which is the second biggest council region in the world – and twice the size of the state of Victoria. They all met for the first time in Alice Springs in 2014 at the Dirty Word poetry festival, where they performed on-stage as a combined act for the first time. They write songs collaboratively together, incorporating beats and discussing issues they would like to include as lyrics. Their songs incorporate traditional language, social issues, dreamtime stories and cultural history.