Yothu Yindi, Australia’s most recognisable and influential Indigenous band, are to be celebrated as part of the 2013 National Indigenous Music Awards (NIMA), recognised for their contribution to music, along with a tribute concert at the NIMA 2013 ceremony with some of the country’s leading Indigenous acts.

The tribute performance will see a number of the country’s best Indigenous performers and musicians coming together to perform a musical tribute to Yothu Yindi in one star-studded night, covering the band’s many hit songs; taking place at the Darwin Amphitheatre on Saturday 10th August.

The lineup is to be announced in mid-June, but many of the original Yothu Yindi lineup will be performing at the NIMA tribute, with several artists stepping forward to fill the role of frontman Mandawuy Yunupingu (who is unable to perform as he suffers from End Stage Renal Disease). Among those filling his shoes will be Yunpingu’s own grandson and East Journey frontman Rrawun Maymuru, and Melbourne soul-father Kutcha Edwards.

Both singers were on hand at Melbourne’s Art Centre this morning to announce NIMA’s Yothu Yindi tribute concert, with Rrawun Maymuru and Kutcha Edwards performing a cover of ‘Mainstream’ with leading didjeridu player William Barton and Gurrumul associate Francis Daitschenko.

“My heart is full of joy. I am so happy to see that in my lifetime Indigenous music has come such a long way,” said Mandawuy Yunupingu of the Yothu Yindi tribute concert. “To have these talented artists come together to honour the groundbreaking work of Yothu Yindi makes me proud beyond words. Yo Manymak.” “My heart is full of joy. I am so happy to see that in my lifetime Indigenous music has come such a long way.” –  Mandawuy Yunupingu, Yothu Yindi

Mark Smith, Manager Music NT presenters of NIMA, added his enthusiasm for the event, “it’s a very exciting time with so many Indigenous artists doing so well. We are talking to a number of indigenous artists and they all want to jump on stage to be a part of this historical NIMA concert. With so many artists across the country we look forward to an amazing celebration of Yothu Yindi and the band’s legacy.”

The news follows the ARIAs recognising Yothu Yinid as part of the 2012 Awards, inducting the band into the ARIA Hall of Fame, after a long history that includes eight ARIA wins and 14 nominations for their six album-strong discography. Yothu Yindi also gave a special performance at the awards featuring  Gurrumul, Dan Sultan, Jessica Mauboy, Peter Garrett, and Paul Kelly.

Yothu Yindi celebrated their 27-year history with a new compilation last year called Healing Stone: The Best Of Yothu Yindi, which includes the title track, the group’s first new song in 12 years, and co-written by Mandawuy Yunupingu and INXS’ Andrew Farriss.

The 2013 NIMAs marks 10 years of recognising Indigenous music and its third year of being a national event, last year’s ceremony saw Mandawuy Yunupingu proudly presenting the Bururrawanga Memorial Award to East Journey, the band he helped mentor, who also took home the NT Film Clip of the Year for their video for ‘Ngarrpiya’. “We are talking to a number of indigenous artists and they all want to jump on stage to be a part of this historical NIMA concert.” – Mark Smith, NIMA

Meanwhile, Gurrumul – himself a former member of Yothu Yindi and the frontman’s nephew – also scooped the awards taking home the NT Cover Art of the Year award for ‘Bayini, his collaboration with Sarah Blasko, as well as the Artist of the Year Award.

Along with the Yothu Yindi tribute concert news comes the the announcement of the Triple J Unearthed  National Indigenous Music Awards competition for the second time ever. Entries for the youth station’s Award open on Sunday 7th July and close shortly after on Thursday 11th July.

“In our inaugural year we found an exceptional young singer songwriter, Thelma Plum, who has found a huge audience of fans since being Unearthed,” said Stephanie Carrick, Executive Producer of Triple J Unearthed. “We can’t wait to once again dig through triplejunearthed.com and hear all the fantastic music from Indigenous musicians we know is out there.”

After scoring the inaugural award, Thelma Plum – who is heading out on tour this July – went on to sign with Foostomp Muisc and release her debut EP Rosie, which our Tone Deaf writer said was “full of infectious melodies, clever lyrics and well-thought out orchestration.”

“My life has completely changed since being Unearthed at the NIMAs last year,” said Plum. “The opportunities have been overwhelming, I can hardly catch my breath. I urge others out there who are quietly going about making music to get out there and sign up. If it could happen to me it could happen to you.”

The 2013 NIMAs take place on August 10th this year and nominations close on June 15th 2013, with the nominations then announced on Wednesday 26th June. Head online to nima.musicnt.com.au to nominate for acts for the national categories of Act, Album, Song, New Talent of the Year, Film Clip and Cover Art of the Year.

National Indigenous Music Awards (NIMA) 2013

Ceremony and Concert, August 10, 2013
Darwin Amphitheatre, Darwin NT

More information: nima.musicnt.com.au

Tickets to NIMA 2013 are on sale today via www.darwinfestival.org.au

Get unlimited access to the coverage that shapes our culture.
to Rolling Stone magazine
to Rolling Stone magazine