Budjerah and King Stingray among winners at National Indigenous Music Awards

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Budjerah and King Stingray among winners at National Indigenous Music Awards

Words by Staff Writer

The 2023 National Indigenous Music Awards set a new bar for celebrating the vibrancy, creativity, and sheer talent of First Nations artists.

The National Indigenous Music Awards (NIMAs) lit up the scene for the 19th time, offering an exceptional celebration of First Nations musical brilliance. Set against the captivating backdrop of the Darwin Amphitheatre on Larrakia Country, the event was nothing short of a sensation, graced with laughter from co-hosts Fred Leone and Elaine Crombie, and an array of stellar performances that set the stage on fire.

In a true display of Indigenous talent reigning supreme, King Stingray emerged as the star of the night, snagging the Song of the Year and Film Clip of the Year awards for their infectious hit ‘Let’s Go.’ On a parallel note, after a phenomenal year of music, Budjerah clinched the prestigious Artist of the Year award, backed by Amazon Music.

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Indie icon Thelma Plum captured hearts and the Best Album of the Year title with her soulful creation ‘Meanjin (EP).’ The Indigenous Language Award recognised traditional songman Ngulmiya for his self-titled debut album, a testament to the enchanting power of language.

Taking the spotlight as New Talent of the Year was Bumpy, a name that’s been skyrocketing in the music scene since their breakout moment in the Triple J Unearthed NIMA competition last year. Wildfire Manwurrk also shone bright, clinching the Community Clip of the Year and the esteemed Archie Roach Foundation Award.

An unforgettable moment ensued as Yothu Yindi, the legendary pioneers of Indigenous and Australian music, received the Hall of Fame accolade. The evening’s climax saw the original Yothu Yindi lineup, along with Yirrŋa Yunupiŋu, nephew of Dr M Yunupiŋu and King Stingray vocalist, take to the stage for a surprise performance of their iconic hit ‘Treaty.’


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From Kobie Dee to Dean Brady, Thelma Plum to Barkaa, Ngulmiya to Budjerah, the night sparkled with world-class performances that showcased the ethereal talents of First Nations artists. Complementing the musical enchantment, the Red Flag Dancers wowed the crowd with their captivating traditional dance.

Djanaba rocked the stage, cementing her title as this year’s NIMAs triple j Unearthed contest winner, ensuring that every foot was tapping and every heart was dancing.

The National Indigenous Music Awards Winners

Artist of the Year

New Talent of the Year

Film Clip of the Year
King Stingray – ‘Let’s Go’

Song of the Year
King Stingray – ‘Let’s Go’

Album of the Year
Thelma Plum – Meanjin (EP)

Community Clip of the Year
Wildfire Manwurrk – ‘Mararradj’

Indigenous Language Award
Ngulmiya, Self-Titled

Hall of Fame
Yothu Yindi

Archie Roach Foundation Award
Wildfire Manwurrk

For those who missed the action, don’t fret! Triple J will broadcast the event’s highlights on Blak Out on Sunday, August 13. Meanwhile, NITV and SBS On Demand will broadcast the full festivities from Larrakia Country on Sunday, August 13, at 7.30 pm.

Find out more here