Jazz legend returns to where it all began in NAIDOC celebration

Residents will be encouraged to celebrate NAIDOC Week at a series of community and cultural events at Burdekin Theatre and Burdekin Library this July.

In a special event on Thursday 19 July, Burdekin Theatre will host ‘My Music, My Life, My Story’ – an evening of entertainment featuring indigenous artists and prominent figures headlined by Australian jazz legend and Birrigubba Elder Johnny Nicol.

Mr Nicol, born George Roy, was a member of the now legendary Maori Troubadours with New Zealand’s beloved Prince Tui Teka and has performed at prestigious venues around the world, but his musical journey started in Ayr where he was born and raised.

“It’s been my goal to get back to where I started and tell my story,” Mr Nicol said.

“I’m proud of where I am and what I’ve achieved in my life and I want to tell the fellas back there that if you focus on your journey, you can achieve anything you wish.

“It’s very special to me that it will be taking place around NAIDOC Week.”

The night will also feature pianist Kevin Hunt; artist, comedian, author and Bwcolgamon woman Maggie Walsh; Bindal Elder, Professor Gracelyn Smallwood; jazz singer and Birrigubba Elder, Shireen Malamoo; comedian Sean Choolburra; Aicey Zaro and the Burdekin Gospel Singers; and Alfred Henaway.

Tickets are $15-$35 from the Burdekin Theatre Box Office, by phone (07) 4783 9880 or by visiting www.burdekintheatre.com.

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said NAIDOC Week was a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements.

“NAIDOC Week is officially held during 8-15 July and a number of events will take place in the Burdekin during the month of July,” she said.

Burdekin Library will host an exhibition of stories and images of local community elders as interviewed, researched and written by Ayr State High School students.

The exhibition, titled ‘Because of Her We Can’, will be launched at 6pm on Friday 20 July and will continue to be displayed until September. It will then progress to Ayr State High School for display.

“The exhibition is a partnership with Burdekin Library and Ayr State High School and is made possible thanks to NAIDOC grant funding from the Australian Government Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet,” Cr McLaughlin said.

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