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The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

Indigenous contemporary musicians receive breakthrough

Media release
15 July 2009

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Five Indigenous music groups will today receive critical funding to accelerate their musical careers through the Breakthrough program.

Arts Minister Peter Garrett said Breakthrough funding would help bring new Indigenous music talents to the attention of the mainstream music industry by giving musicians the opportunity to make an all-important high quality recording of their work.

Breakthrough is a pilot initiative of the Cultural Ministers Council, which provides each of the artists or groups with up to $25,000 (exclusive of GST) to record a high-quality broadcaststandard EP or CD which can be used to gain airplay on radio.

“Breakthrough funding is a terrific opportunity for these upcoming musicians, because a high-quality recording can greatly assist acts get airplay and reach new listening audiences. The opportunity to produce and market the recording will also provide invaluable experience of the music industry,” Mr Garrett said.

“The Breakthrough program attracted such a strong response from Indigenous musicians around Australia that the Australian Government added extra funding to raise the number of Breakthrough recipients from three to five.

“Our expert panel of Christine Anu, Rhoda Roberts and Rob Collins had a very challenging time selecting the five successful recipients from the 42 final applications. However, they have made a great selection from the diverse talents, choosing artists with a strong track record in writing and performing and with huge future potential.”

The successful recipients are:

Breakthrough funds are provided to cover recording costs, production and engineering fees, mixing, mastering, design work and printing, as well as publicity and media costs. The Breakthrough pilot initiative will be evaluated over the next 12 months.

Further details about the successful recipients are attached.

Breakthrough: emerging Indigenous Contemporary Musicians pilot initiative—2009 recipients

Microwave Jenny

NSW (Central Coast and Wagga Wagga)

Microwave Jenny is a young duo comprising Brendon Boney and Tessa Nuku, singer/songwriters. Both musicians sing and a feature of their music is their sensitive vocal work.

The duo writes and performs folk/jazz music and already has an impressive background of performing at concerts and festivals. 

Leah Flanagan Band

NT (Darwin)

Leah has a Bachelor of Music from the Adelaide Conservatorium (2004), where she majored in vocal studies. Her music has been described as country/folk music and features Leah’s captivating vocals entwined with exquisite violin playing from fellow band member Netanela Mizrahi.

Leah and her band have performed at many festivals and have already received a number of music awards. 

Street Warriors

NSW (Newcastle/Sydney)

Street Warriors are an Indigenous Hip Hop/Rap group comprising brothers Abie (aka predator) and Warrick (aka Wok) Wright. Their music is characterised by its driving vocals and poetry. Street Warriors have extensive performing and touring experience. 

Busby Marou

QLD (Rockhampton)

Busby Marou is a duo of Thomas Busby and Jeremy Marou. Jeremy is a Torres Strait Islander, whose instrumental talents are prominently displayed in the group’s compositions. Busby Marou formed in late 2006 and perform in an alternative/country style. 

Stiff Gins

NSW (Marrickville/Redfern)

The Stiff Gins consists of Nardi Simpson and Kaleena Briggs. They are a professional Indigenous touring band that has been performing locally, nationally and internationally for ten years. Their music is characterised by distinctively tight vocal harmonies in a soft folk/country style. 

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