Opening reception, Monday 1 July
Chris Tamwoy is a self-taught guitarist with a unique playing style and sound. Spending his childhood with his family in the Torres Strait Islands, he now resides in Brisbane, Australia, and travels nationally and internationally with his music, as a proud ambassador for his Culture and Country.
His distinctive guitar-tap style and vibrant personality see him in high-demand with gigs across Australia, the USA and ongoing media appearances and documentary features. In 2016 national TV audiences watched Chris make his way thru to the grand finals of ‘Australia’s Got Talent’, and in 2018 saw him on TV weekly as a judge on ‘All Together Now’.
Having played some of Australia’s largest festivals he often surprises crowds with sensational on-stage collaborations. He also represented proudly at G’day LA, G’day USA and in Hawaii, and returns home to the islands whenever he can. 2018 also saw an inspired performance and Acknowledgment of Country and People at the Invictus Games Closing Ceremony, collaborating with Colin Hay, Aloe Blacc and many more talented musicians.
2015 was a busy year with the release of his debut EP Ngaw Laag ‘My Home’ (available via iTunes and Impossible Odds Records), and the honor of receiving the National NAIDOC Youth of the Year Award. Since then Chris has been writing and rehearsing for an album set for release in 2019.
Dubbed a ‘guitar virtuoso’, this humble young man’s music, personality and vibe is unforgettable.
Conference dinner, Wednesday 3 July
Leon Filewood (Master of Ceremonies)
Leon Filewood was born and raised on Waiben (aka Thursday Island), Kaurareg Country, in the Torres Strait.
He graduated with a bachelor of Law and Graduate diploma of Legal Practice from the Queensland University of Technology. He spent several years in private practice as a solicitor in criminal and family law before going on to practice in commercial litigation, corporate insolvency and bankruptcy law.
Feeling unfulfilled and isolated from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in private practice as a solicitor, he changed career path and became in-house counsel and divisional manager at a Local Aboriginal Land Council in Western Sydney. There he managed the Land Council's housing, health, education and training services.
Leon eventually moved back to Brisbane and currently works in local government as a Community Development Coordinator where he continues to serve the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
In 2018, Leon won the Melbourne International Comedy Festival's "National Deadly Funny Competition" which is a competition to find Australia's funniest black fellas and help develop Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander comedy.
Leon has delivered a Tedx Talk, is a writer, producer and motivational speaker.
“Emily Wurramara’s childhood was one of water and music. Growing up on Groote Eylandt, days were filled with travel, fishing and extended family, a mother telling stories of dreams and dolphins that would one day become the seeds of Emily’s music. In almost the blink of an eye the young fresh faced artist who debuted her breakout EP ‘Black Smoke’ in 2016, has matured into a now seasoned award winning Indigenous performer and a proud new mum with her own stories to pass down to her daughter, K’iigari, born Boxing Day (2017).
As an empowered new mum Emily says “Having a baby girl reminds me of the strength of a woman and how beautiful and priviledged we are to be able to experience that”.
2018 saw Emily’s long awaited mid-year release of her first full length debut album, Milyakburra. A dedication to both her daughter and her home. Emily has teamed up again with award winning producer, David Bridie to complete the album, Emily explains the title: “Bickerton Island or Milyakburra, is where I spent most of my childhood going back and forth from Groote on a little dinghy boat with my grandparents. Milyakburra is where my ancestors established home, the Wurramara tribe. My great great grandfather, Joe Wurramara established a community there on the island. There’s only a school and one shop, right across the road from my grandmother’s house.
Milyakburra is a very sacred and mystical island. Living in the busy city I wanted to create something that is a reminder to me of my home, and I hope that this album reaches out to the listeners and reminds them of their “home”.”
‘Fusion’ music can be a tricky beast. Bands will often try to smash together a host of influences – but it takes a special combination of talent and sheer fearlessness to actually pull it off. And thankfully they are two things CKNU have in abundance.
A five-piece band that bring smooth vibes, high energy and a guaranteed good time. What sets them apart from the rest is their unique harmonies and musicianship. They are an original-band but they are able to perform covers with their own unique twist ranging from the 70's to the present.