With two trophies, rapper Baker Boy was the big winner at the 2022 National Indigenous Music Awards, held Saturday (Aug. 6) at the Darwin Amphitheatre, Australia.
The Yolngu hip-hop star, a one-time “Australian of the year”, won the night’s major awards, claiming artist of the year and album of the year, for Gela, his debut which peaked at No. 3 on the ARIA Albums Chart in 2021.
It’s the third time Danzal Baker, also known in these parts as the Fresh Prince of Arnhem Land, has scooped artist of the year honors, lifting his career NIMAs tally to nine.
Also among the winners’ circle is Gumbaynggirr and Bundjalung indie artist Jem Cassar-Daley, daughter of local country star Troy Cassar-Daley, who snagged new talent of the year following the 2021 release of her debut EP, I Don’t Know Who to Call, while Yolngu surf-rock outfit King Stingray won for song of the year, with “Milkumana.”
As previously reported, the life and gifts of Gurrumul were celebrated with elevation into the NIMAs Hall of Fame, and a special performance by Saltwater Band co-founder Manuel Dhurrkay.
A unique talent, Gurrumul was blind from birth, was raised in the remote Galiwin’ku community on Elcho Island, and spoke little English.
He released three, critically-lauded albums during his lifetime, Gurrumul (from 2008), Rrakala (April 2011) and The Gospel Album (August 2015), and won admiration from the likes of Elton John, Stevie Wonder and will.i.am.
In 2015, Quincy Jones introduced the singer and guitarist to American audiences ahead of his first-ever solo tour of the country. The artist, enthused Jones at the time, had “one of the most unusual and emotional and musical voices that I’ve ever heard.”
Gurrumul died in 2017 at the age of 46. The following year, his posthumous release Djarimirri (Child Of The Rainbow) debuted at No. 1 on this week’s ARIA Albums Chart, to become the first LP in an indigenous language to lead the national survey.
Manuel Dhurrkay and Shellie Morris pay tribute to @Gurrumul as he is inducted into the @NIMAwards Hall of Fame pic.twitter.com/U2UPG0cvnQ
— National Indigenous Music Awards (@NIMAwards) August 6, 2022
Another lost legend of the Indigenous music scene, Archie Roach, was remembered when the entire NIMAs cast joined forces on a rendition of his song “We Won’t Cry”.
Roach, who received a Human Rights Medal for his heartbreaking Stolen Generations song “Took The Children Away,” and inspired generations with his songcraft and storytelling, passed away July 30, aged 66.
“So honored to be a part of such an incredible night tonight,” comments NIMAs creative director Ben Graetz. “To be at the Amphitheater with community, celebrating together in person will be something I will remember for a very long time. Also to remember, honor and pay tribute to Dr G and Uncle Archie was a true highlight.”
Performers on the night included King Stingray, Birdz and Fred Leone, Emma Donovan and the Putbacks, Yirrmal, and the Red Flag Dancers.
The NIMAs returned as an in-person event after a two-year hiatus, and was presented by Amazon Music and broadcast around Australia on NITV, SBS Viceland, NIRS, Facebook and SBS On Demand.
The Northern Territory Government and Australia Council for the Arts in association with Darwin Festival are supporters of the annual event.
2022 National Indigenous Music Awards winners:
Artist of the Year
Album of the Year
Baker Boy – Gela
New Talent of the Year
Song of the Year
King Stingray – Milkumana
Songwriters: Roy Kellaway / Gotjirringu Jerome Yunipingu
Film Clip of the Year
Barkaa – King Brown
Directed & Produced by: Sonder Films
Executive Producer: Vyva Entertainment
Community Clip of the Year
Numbulwar, NT – Loud & Proud
Directors & Producers: Indigenous Outreach Projects
/Matthew Mastratisi /Franceska Fusha / Lesley Phillips/Jordan O’Davis
Numbulwar Community & School
Hall of Fame
Archie Roach Foundation Award