Ground-breaking partnership gives culturally diverse female musicians access to industry

Settlement Services International (SSI)

For the third year running, Settlement Services International (SSI) is partnering with Australian Women in Music Awards (AWMA) to turn the spotlight on culturally diverse female artists and music practitioners through the SSI Diversity in Music Award.

In a ground-breaking initiative to promote diversity and equality in the Australian music industry, SSI and AWMA have joined forces to support eight female artists from diverse backgrounds across NSW and QLD to attend the 2022 AWMA program in Brisbane, May 17-18.

This year, the partnership is being supported by SSI’s subsidiary organisation, the Brisbane Multicultural Arts Centre (BEMAC), which will guide its QLD-based delegation.

The two-day AWMA program includes a series of forums, Tina Arena In Conversation with Yumi Stynes, a film screening, networking opportunities, First Nations Hip Hop Showcase, Awards ceremony, concert and party.

The eight women that SSI will take to the 2022 AWMA program include:

Putri Karina

Putri is a Jakarta-born-and-raised, Eora-based music producer, singer and songwriter. She defines her music as alt-soul electronica with multi-layered vocals and synths, percussive drums and ambient soundscapes.

She released her first single, “Monologue”, in December 2021 and her second single, “Rain on Tuesday”, in January 2022. She received rotation on FBi Radio Sydney and was played on Triple R Melbourne, 2SER Sydney, 4ZZZ Brisbane and other local radios.

Nadhamuni Gayatri Bharat

Nadhamuni is an Australian-Indian and internationally acclaimed Indian classical musician. She was raised by a Hindu seer and started her musical journey at age 6. Born in India to a family with strong musical traditions, she received advanced music training from great stalwarts of Indian classical music.

Marina Da Silva

Marina is a multi-disciplinary artist, educator, and professional mover and groover, specialising in Brazilian cultural arts, drumming and dancing. Born to Brazilian parents in a musical household in Sydney, she was raised surrounded by classical, contemporary and traditional musicians and artists.

In 2020 she founded “Ile Ilu – House of Rhythm”, a drum and dance community group focusing on feminine empowerment, Afro-Brazilian music and culture, healing and soulful expression.

Carmen Nieves

Carmen is the founder of Alianza Music Management, providing creative direction and management for local venues to present artists and ensembles and bands for key events. Carmen is also an instrumental tutor at St Catherine’s School, Loreto Kirribilli, Sydney Grammar School and Saxophone Academy Sydney.

As a professional musician, Carmen accumulated over 20 years of experience as an instrumental tutor, chamber and orchestral musician, and program and festival coordinator during her involvement with the world-renowned orchestral program El Sistema in Caracas, Venezuela.

Menaka Thomas

Menaka is a Brisbane-based singer, songwriter and teacher. She sings a fusion of traditional Indian vocals with contemporary and other world influences, an intersection of East and West.

Menaka has featured expansively at music festivals, including Woodford Folk Festival, Queensland Multicultural Festival, Festival of Tibet, BrisAsia Festival and the Anywhere Festival. She is also one of the featured cast members for Brisbane Powerhouse’s “Women in Voice” for 2022. Her music has been highly commended in the world music category of the Queensland Music Awards on several occasions, alongside musical collaborators.

Samira El Koussa

Samira is a highly acclaimed Lebanese singer, composer, songwriter, musician and music teacher specialising in classical Middle Eastern Tarab. She attended the Lebanese National Higher Conservatory of Music and graduated from the internationally recognised Beit Al Mousika.

Her career spans 28 years of performances at major events in countries including Lebanon, Dubai, Syria, Jordan and Australia. She was a finalist in the Lebanese LBC TV Program Studio Al Fan, featured on multiple television shows, and performed at international and local cultural festivals.

Marina Poša

Marina is a classically trained mezzo-soprano who lives to sing. In 2017, Marina premiered her first show, El Vito! a one woman show. Since its debut, El Vito! a one woman show has been performed throughout Queensland, selected for the Short + Sweet Festival, the Queensland Cabaret Festival, and The Butterfly Club in Melbourne.

Lana Tukaroa

Lana is a musician and MC-lyricist and the lead vocalist for band Beauty and the Beats. She delivers soulful sounds underpinned by her love for island culture and hip hop. She has been performing since early 2009 and has MC’d at some of Brisbane’s finest venues and national festivals, and, to name a few, has opened for Naughty By Nature, Eve and Jessica Mauboy.

AWMA is the brainchild of Founding Executive Producer and Program Director Vicki Gordon. “We believe in the power of music to change lives and our partnership with SSI does exactly that,” Ms Gordon said.

SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis said that the unique partnership between AWMA and SSI created a platform where culturally diverse female artists could become recognised for their talents and contributions to the Australian music industry.

“This is such a wonderful collaboration between AWMA, SSI and BEMAC, as it supports diverse communities in building artistic bridges,” said Ms Roumeliotis.

“Supporting the Diversity in Music Award category aligns with our vision of advancing cultural diversity and supporting CALD artists to participate and contribute to Australia’s arts.”

AWMA will host the inaugural First Nations Women’s Hip Hop showcase LOVE FOR MY SISTERS, programmed as part of this year’s conference, which SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis said tied in with SSI’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

“We launched our RAP earlier this year, aiming to embed a safe environment that increases and promotes the employment, participation, voice, dialogue and discussion with people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“Events like AWMA recognise the contribution and value of First Nations and multicultural performers by acknowledging the incredible contributions made by all Australian women.”

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