Monday 8 April 2013

Top music honour for national treasure Kev Carmody
The $60,000 Australia Council Don Banks Music Award – the nation’s most valuable individual music award – is today presented to singer, storyteller, activist and artist, Kev Carmody, for his outstanding contribution to Australian music.
Kev Carmody’s music is about the exchange and passing on of stories, where music is used as a vessel for these stories. He writes songs drawing on a unique life experience, with an eye for historical and political narratives. His songs cover land rights and black deaths in custody through to Christian theology, poverty in the UK and celebrations of all walks of Australian life. ‘Kev Carmody is a talented and distinctively Australian artist, a storyteller of depth and integrity as well as an extraordinary advocate for the rights and values of Indigenous Australians’, says Professor Matthew Hindson AM, Chair of the Australia Council Music Board. ‘From blunt protest songs to poetic ballads, he performs with a clarity and grace that has won him fans across Australia and around the world.’ Starting as a drover at the age of four in Queensland, Carmody grew up moving across the state with his family, following the work. At 33 he enrolled at the Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education, which became the University of Southern Queensland, to study music, then history and philosophy. Having had limited opportunities for schooling, Carmody negotiated to present his essays in song. His first album Pillars of Society, released in 1988, was dubbed by journalist Bruce Elder, writing for Rolling Stone Magazine, ‘the best album ever released by an Aboriginal musician and arguably the best protest album ever made in Australia’. Carmody has since been a recipient of the 2005 Jimmy Little Award for Lifetime Achievement in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Music (The Deadlys), 1993 Country Music Association of Australia Heritage Award for From Little Things, Big Things Grow; and 2001 Australian Film Industry’s Open Craft Award in a Non-Feature Film for an Original Score. Carmody is known for embracing a vast range of styles, mixing folk and country with reggae, funk, traditional didgeridoo and mandolin, hard rock, and gospel; as well as for his ‘hand-made’ approach to recording. ‘Kev’s music is an invaluable collection for the nation, but his contribution to music is greater than songs and stories’, says Matthew Hindson. ‘So much can be learned from his approach to recording. His favourite studio is a converted cold room and fruit packing shed, and if he’s searching for a certain sound he’ll often make the instrument to achieve it, creating unique and beautiful effects.’ In 2007 Paul Kelly, who describes Kev Carmody’s work as ‘one of our nation’s greatest treasures’, bought to fruition a tribute album with many notable Australian musicians recording their versions of Carmody’s songs. In 2008 Cannot Buy My Soul became a tribute event at the Sydney Festival. The calibre of artists that joined Carmody on stage, including Paul Kelly, Missy Higgins, Tex Perkins, Dan Sultan and Steve Kilbey amongst others; is a testament to the respect that Kev Carmody has achieved within the Australian music industry. ‘Kev Carmody is held in the highest regard by his peers and his fans’, says Matthew Hindson. ‘His contribution to Australian music and to Australian culture is indisputable. It is a pleasure to award him the 2013 Australia Council Don Banks Music Award.’ The Australia Council Don Banks Music Award is presented at 6.00pm, Monday 8 April at the Brisbane Powerhouse

Media contacts Cameron Woods 02 9215 9030 | 0412 686 548 c.woods@australiacouncil.gov.au

Brendan Wall 02 9215 9166 | 0427 689 910 b.wall@australiacouncil.gov.au

BACKGROUND – Australia Council Don Banks Music Award
The Australia Council Don Banks Music Award is one of the top annual awards the Australia Council offers in recognition of Australian artists whose work represents outstanding achievement in their respective fields. The Award is valued at $60,000 and is offered by the Council’s Music Board. The Board offers only one award annually to an individual artist. The purpose of the Australia Council Don Banks Music Award is to honour an artist of high distinction who has made an outstanding and sustained contribution to Australia music over a period of many years. The award was established in honour of Don Banks, Australian composer, performer, and the first Chair of the Music Board. Initially established to recognise Australian composers, nominations are now invited for music artists, including performers, from all areas of music. The award is intended for artists over the age of 50, and is granted only once in an artist’s lifetime. Nominations are accepted from individuals and arts organisations. Artists may not nominate themselves; nominations must come from a third party.

Past winners of the Australia Council Don Banks Music Award include: Richard Mills (1996) Richard Meale (1997) Bernie McGann (1998) Brenton Broadstock (1999) Bunna Lawrie (2000) Allan Browne (2001) Lyndall Hendrickson (2002) John Curro AM MBE (2003) Jan Sedivka (2004) Carl Vine (2005) Richard Gill OAM (2006) Peter Sculthorpe OBE (2007) Bob Sedergreen AM (2008) Dr Tony Gould (2009) Warren Fahey AM (2010) Belinda Webster OAM (2011) Jon Rose (2012)