King Stingray continued its golden run with a brace of wins at the 2023 National Indigenous Music Awards (NIMAs), held Saturday (Feb. 12) at Darwin Amphitheatre on Larrakia Country.
Formed in Northeast Arnhem Land, the Stingers, as they’re lovingly known in these parts, snagged song of the year and film clip of the year both for “Let’s Go,” converting two-of-two nominations.
Earlier in the month, the Yolngu surf-rockers dominated the 2023 AIR Awards with three trophies, adding to a collection that includes the Michael Gudinski breakthrough artist, best new artist at the 2022 Rolling Stone Australia Awards, first-prize in the Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition, and the 2022 Australian Music Prize.
Also at the 2023 NIMAs, Budjerah won the coveted artist of the year category, adding to his own impressive haul. The rising singer and songwriter from Fingal Head, New South Wales, was the inaugural winner of the Michael Gudinski prize at the 2021 ARIAs, he has also collected best new artist at the 2023 RS Awards and, in 2022, won his first APRA Award for most performed R&B/soul work of the year (“Higher” with Matt Corby).
Queensland singer and songwriter Thelma Plum scooped the album of the year NIMA for Meanjin, while the Indigenous language award was bestowed to traditional songman Ngulmiya for his self-titled debut album.
One of the night’s outstanding moments belonged to Yothu Yindi, as the “Treaty” singers were inducted into the NIMAs Hall of Fame for their “long and powerful contributions to Indigenous and Australian music across several decades,” reads a statement from organizers.
During the induction ceremony, the band’s original lineup, along with King Stingray vocalist Yirrŋa Yunupiŋu, nephew of the late Dr M Yunupiŋu, took to the stage for a rocking rendition of their signature song.
Performers on the evening included Kobie Dee, Dean Brady, Plum, Barkaa, Ngulmiya and Budjerah and the Red Flag Dancers.
“So proud of all the artists, performers, nominees and winners at this year’s NIMAs,” comments NIMA creative director Ben Graetz. “It was an exceptional night of Blak excellence.”
An initiative of trade body MusicNT, the NIMAs, now in its 19th year, are a celebration of the “finest celebration of First Nations music”.
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2023 National Indigenous Music Awards Winners
Artist of the Year — Budjerah
New Talent of the Year — Bumpy
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
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