Originally published in the National Indigenous Times, February 22 2007.
By Amy McQuire
THERE’S another kind of big day out brewing in Adelaide this March, and its not just restricting itself to the mainstream musical taste, as Indigenous singer Emma Donovan knows.
Emma (PICTURED LEFT), an accomplished singer/songwriter and former member of Indigenous band “Stiff Gins”, will this March be joining a line-up of international and homegrown artists at the annual Womadelaide festival.
“It’s music from around the world,” she says.
“It’s called ‘Sounds of the Planet’ and it features a large host of artists from around the globe.”
Appearing with her band, aptly titled “The Emma Donovan band”, Ms Donovan will perform songs alongside international musicians such as SambaSunda (Indonesia), Mariza (Portugal), Lila Downs (Mexico) and Salif Keita (who is often described as the golden voice of Africa) as well as fellow Aboriginal star Kev Carmody.
The world renowned Indian singer Asha Bhosle, who is credited as being the most recorded artist of all time will also make her Australian debut.
But singing with talented artists is not something new to Emma.
She has performed with and alongside Indigenous artists like Frank Yamma, Archie Roach, Ruby Hunter, Christine Anu and Jimmy Little. And she secured a place of repute among them when she won a 2001 Deadly award for the song ‘Morning Star’ with The Stiff Gins.
Now a solo artist, Emma has released her debut album ‘Changes’, which is a collection of stories from the heart.
Her friends may tease her about the tempo being ‘slow’, but she maintains the correct words are ‘laid back’.
“A lot of it is just relaxed stuff and it gives off a positive vibe,” she says.
“I want to tell my story and I just want to let people know who I am. It’s not coming from a political background… these are stories that need to be told and that are important to me.”
Emma’s second album is still in the works and she readily admits she’s not in any rush.
“The album I’m currently writing on now is one I’m taking my time on. I really want it to define who I am,” she says.
“But if people don’t dig any of my stuff they don’t have to. I’m not really worried about wether my music should be in mainstream or not.
“It wouldn’t be too bad if it did. But I’ll still be happy if I keep doing the same stuff that I do.”
•The Womadelaide ‘Sounds of the Planet’ 2007 festival will be held from March 9-11 at Botanic Park in Adelaide.