After a sad absence of a few years, the National Indigenous Music Awards are returning to Darwin Amphitheatre on Saturday, August 6th.

And the event is making up for lost time with a massive celebration of Indigenous music planned for the night: Thelma Plum, King Stingray, Emma Donovan & The Putbacks and many more will all perform onstage. 

This year’s nominees were announced last month, with BARKAA leading the list with four nominations. Baker Boy is also in with a chance of winning three awards, including Artist of the Year (check out the full list here). 

To celebrate the welcome return of the NIMAs, 12 of the biggest names in Australian music chose their favourite songs by Indigenous artists, explaining why they love them so much.

Tickets for this year’s NIMAs are on sale now via

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Ocean Alley

King Stingray – ‘Let’s Go’

“It’s got an awesome upbeat chorus and then breaks down into the bridge and builds back up with didgeridoo and some psych guitar, it’s what we love to listen to. The imagery of the Central Arnhem Highway is also so vivid and matches the music well, it’s just very thoughtful. It’s another masterpiece by the group.”

Jaguar Jonze

Emily Wurramurra – ‘Mamalika Diraka (Wheels on the Bus)’

“I am obsessed with Emily Wurramurra’s take on well-known children songs with her latest EP Ayarra Emeba (Calm Songs). ‘‘Mamalika Diraka (Wheels on the Bus)’ is the most nurturing hug. Emily is a huge talent and it’s been an honour to watch her as a friend and as an artist grow over the last few years.”

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Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers

Jessica Mauboy – ‘Up/Down’ 

“One of my favourite songs has always been ‘Up/Down’ by Jessica Mauboy,” Scarlett from Teen Jesus says. “Hers was the first concert I ever went to and I bought her album from Big W the very next day. 2009 was a beautiful year and I thank Jessica for her service.”

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Amyl and the Sniffers

B-Town Warriors – ‘People of the Red Sunset’
June Jones (Alice Skye remix) – ‘Party Tricks’
JK-47 – ‘Wings’ and ‘The Recipe’
DancingWater – ‘White Noise’
Dameeeela ft. Tjaka – ‘The Shake Up’
BARKAA – ‘22clan’
Waak Waak Djungi – ‘Mother, I’m Going’
Roger Knox – ‘Koori Rose’

“Favourites right now are Barkaa, JK-47, and Alice Skye. Briggs is also obviously great, as is Kelly from Camp Cope,” Amy Taylor shares.

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Sly Withers

Beddy Rays – ‘On My Own’

“We bloody adore this tune and this band,” says Sam from Sly Withers. “Such a brilliant, no nonsense, Meanjin-rock banger from a bunch of the sweetest lads you’ve ever met. Good luck trying to get any of Jacko’s melodies out of your head for the next day or four after your first listen.” 

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King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard

King Stingray – ‘Get Me Out’

“When we saw them play at By The Meadow festival just outside of the Otways on the Victorian Surf Coast this track stood out to me the most. Having lived in the city since I was 18 it has been the only place I’ve ever wanted to be, although as I’ve gotten older the Surf Coast of where I grew up is starting to become more and more appealing.

“Certain lyrics stand out in such a powerful way. Painting a nostalgic picture of their homeland with lines in the bridge such as “Feel that cool breeze on your face / Feel that rain on your hair / Running back to you” really takes you there with them. When the singer Yirrŋa Yunupiŋu starts wailing in his native tongue and belting out the words “Get me out of the city”, you can feel the tingles in your spine. Amazing songwriting with an honest heartfelt sentiment hits home every time.”

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Spacey Jane

Sycco – ‘Superstar’

“We love ‘Superstar’ by Sycco – it has such a big energy with an amazing groove (that bassline is poppin!) Sycco is a superstar!!”

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Vera Blue

Miiesha – ‘War’

‘War’ pulled my attention and interest when I heard it on triple J while driving. Her voice is so unique, her tone is crystal clear and has so much depth and emotion to it. She has super real and honest lyrics too. The production is experimental which I adore and the use of vocal effects and distortion compliments the feel and energy of the sounds in the track. It feels heavy and dark but so beautiful at the same time.”

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Ruby Fields

King Stingray – ‘Milkumana’

“Besides the boys all being absolute legends, their musicianship is incredibly unique and beautiful. They have such a visceral and creative way of telling stories.”

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King Stingray – ‘Let’s Go’

“One of my favourite bands. The chorus is so epic and big and gives off good happy sad energy. I love songs about being on the road too.”


Musgrave Band – ‘Families’

“I know very little about Musgrave Band except that they come from the APY lands,” says Alex from Bad//Dreems. “Miles (the band’s drummer) told me about them and this was the first track I played. It opens with a defiant bush reggae groove. The vocals then come in after a bit and they’re beautiful. Mournful and plaintive, like rain in the desert. I can’t understand the language but I don’t need to. It’s beautiful and moving. Then there’s a crystalline guitar solo which would put Mark Knopfler to shame. These guys are the real deal.”

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The Jungle Giants

Dameeeela ft. Tjaka – ‘The Shake Up’

“Dameeeela’s a proud Yuggera DJ from Meanjin (Brisbane), who’s been a hardworking champion for local and Indigenous music of all different styles for the better part of a decade,” says Jungle Giants’ Andrew. “This is her first release and it’s an absolute heater with a nostalgic Brisbane-meets-Manchester rave video. If you’re feeling like you need more (you will), be sure to check out her Boiler Room set and dive deep into her frenetic and impressive music taste.”

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