Yidaki player, singer/songwriter and traditional dancer, Mitch Tambo came to national attention in his receiving of two ‘Golden Buzzers’ and his powerful performance of John Farnham’s iconic anthem ‘You’re The Voice’ on Australia’s Got Talent (AGT) in 2019. Donning his trademark headpiece of Dhinawan feathers and the crest of the Murray - a totem of his Gamilaraay people - the performance landed him in the finals of the competition. With Tambo’s powerful vocals and original music, he fuses together his Gamilaraay language (from North-Western NSW) and yidaki (or ‘didgeridoo’) sounds with contemporary beats and rhythms. Tambo is an engaging performer with a community-minded spirit, whose music has moved people of all cultures across the globe (NITV, 2020). With his music and community work, he hopes that, when he’s on stage singing in his language, it empowers younger generations across all cultures to embrace and celebrate their identity, and to feel confident to sing in their native tongue.
Check out his ‘Golden Buzzer’ audition on AGT, 2019 here:
Check out his performance of John Farnhem’s iconic anthem ‘You’re The Voice’ on AGT, 2019 here:
Tambo has become a trailblazing talent to watch out for since winning the hearts of Australians on the renowned show. Soon after appearing on AGT, he signed a record deal with Sony Music Australia, whom released his original ‘Love’ - which he debuted on AGT - in May 2020. On the debut he even brought judge and Pussycat Dolls’ front-woman, Nicole Scherzinger (2019), to tears:
“You took your Indigenous roots, once again, and you made it so modern, and so fresh and so relevant today...You make your country so proud.”
Check out Tambo’s performance of his original ‘Love’ at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, 2020 here:
There’s no denying that Tambo demonstrates the unique talent our nation has to offer, which is what landed him the opportunity to compete in ‘Eurovision: Australia Decides’ in February 2020 with his uniting track. Tambo informed 7 News (2020) how representing Australia in the world’s biggest singing competition would enable him to spread his message of the significance of celebrating culture, identity and language to bring the world together and create inclusivity:
“Together is a song that’s been constructed to align with my message and purpose...At the moment, there’s a lot of statistics that tell us that we’re [First Nation’s people] over-represented in suicide, incarceration, domestic violence. These are all statistics that don’t discriminate...If we can all come together and love one another and learn from one another, there’s great hope that we can break through these over-representations and really love and support one another, and move forward collectively."
Mitch Tambo poses at ‘Eurovision: Australia Decides’ held at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre on February 7, 2020. Courtesy of SBS, 2020.
Tambo’s career continues to go from strength to strength, as in the same month he got to live out a once-in-a-lifetime experience closing the Concert for National Bush Fire Relief at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney on February the 16th, 2020. In a performance for the ages, Tambo sang ‘You’re the Voice’ with John Farnham, Olivia Newton-John and Queen’s lead guitarist, Brian May (SBS NITV Radio, 2020).
Check out Tambo’s performance alongside major celebrities at the Concert for National Bush Fire Relief, 2020 here:
The 29-year-old artist informed NITV (2020) that growing up on Country (in Tamworth, NSW), and being surrounded by strong cultural role models instilled in him a deep-rooted connection to culture. His community and family have always made him feel supported in his efforts to perform, ever since he began playing the yidaki from a young age (NITV, 2020).
“Growing up in Tamworth and being part of such a strong cultural community, all we did was dance and sing traditional songs and play yidaki.” - Mitch Tambo, 2020.
Tambo’s mother, Roz Parker, definitely played a large role in encouraging him to pursue a career in the music industry and to stay true to his identity in the process, as she has a background in musical theatre. Meanwhile, his Aunty Bernadette Duncan has helped Tambo to keep the Gamilaraay language alive through his music (NITV, 2020).
“Shout out to Aunty Bernadette Duncan who does all the language with me, we work collectively on that. She is such a beautiful Aunty out there in Boggabilla on Gomeroi Country and she is totally under-utilised.” -Mitch Tambo, 2020.
Mitch Tambo at the 33rd annual ARIA Music Awards on the Red Carpet on November 27, 2019. Courtesy of Mitch Tambo’s Facebook page, 2021.
Tambo spoke to the National Indigenous Times (NIT) (2020) about the strength he feels when singing in Gamilaraay:
“It is my identity; it is my belonging and it is a big part of my connectedness. There is so much power in language and when we tap into language, we tap into our ancestry and that much greater power.”
With his community and family support, Tambo has continued to be a strong advocate for his First Nations culture through music. Tambo is committed to empowering family and community as he completed a Bachelor of Social Work in 2014, and in 2016 he co-founded the outreach program True Culture. The Aboriginal-owned program is aimed at empowering Indigenous youth to explore their identity and connection to Country and language through cultural performance, mentor workshops, and art experiences for children in foster care and the juvenile justice system (NITV, 2020). As such, his new role as a UNICEF Australia ambassador for children’s rights is something that lies close to his heart. Tambo informed 7 News in September, 2020 of what this role would involve:
“My role will primarily be to work with my people, First Nation people across Australia, to go out to remote areas and see what we can create and deliver to tackle some of the statistics that we are sadly so over-represented in.”
At Yarn, we are all for supporting and sharing the accomplishments of all kinds of emerging artists, from musicians to fashion designers to visual artists. We would love to see more Indigenous musicians become known within the Australian mainstream music space, as they have such a rich, musical culture to showcase to the world!
Check Out Further:
Check out Mitch Tambo’s Instagram here
Mitch Tambo's music is available on the digital platforms of: