Dr Yunupingu’s family from Elcho Island sang and performed traditional dances. (ABC News: Jacqueline Breen)
Country singer Troy Cassar-Daley and hip hop duo A.B. Original were the big winners at last night’s National Indigenous Music Awards, which were dominated with tributes to the late musician Dr G Yunupingu.
The crowd of thousands at the Darwin Amphitheatre stood for a moment’s silence for the late Elcho Island singer and guitarist, who died last month and was a five-time NIMA Artist of the Year award winner.
Dr G Yunupingu’s uncle, senior Gumatj clan leader David Djunga Djunga Yunupingu, told the crowd his nephew had built a bridge between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia with his music, but died before the country was truly at peace.
“He left us without knowing his place in this nation, without knowing true unity for all Australians,” he said.
“Both Yolngu and Balanda, walking and working together, hand in hand.”
“Two laws, two people, one country.”
Gumatj clan leader, Djunga Djunga Yunupingu pausing during moment’s silence for his nephew. (ABC News: Jacqueline Breen)
Album and Artist of the Year went to Troy Cassar-Daley who sent a video message telling the crowd that his recent album Things I Carry Around was the most personal he had ever written.
“Talking of my family in depth like that and my culture as well was vitally important to what the album meant,” he said.
“I was just really glad that everyone enjoyed it.”
Rappers Briggs and Trials of A.B. Original won Best Song for their track January 26, featuring Dan Sultan, which takes aim at the controversial date of Australia Day.
Rap duo A.B. Original and Dan Sultan won the award for Song of the Year. (ABC News: Jacqueline Breen)
“When we made Reclaim Australia, we wanted to make the album for our nieces and nephews, because we wanted to make the album that we never had,” Briggs said.
“And I just enjoy antagonising red necks, so, it plays well.”
Briggs and Trials paid tribute to their late friend and collaborator Dr Yunupingu with a performance of The Hunt, alongside members of Dr Yunupingu’s family.
“[Dr Yunupingu’s] family is here tonight and that’s really special to us,” Briggs said.
Emotions were running high as tributes for the late Dr G Yunupingu flowed. (ABC News: Jacqueline Breen)
“He was a great friend of ours — he brought so much, not just musicality, but friendship.”
Later, Dr Yunupingu’s family from Elcho Island sang several songs and performed traditional dances in honour of the internationally acclaimed artist.
Two-piece band Electric Fields won Best New Talent and delivered with a pulsing performance of their experimental style of soul.