On Monday April 2nd, 2012 James Oswald Little or ‘Jimmy Little’, one of the most significant contributors to the Australian music and the Australian- Aboriginal political landscape, passed away.
The Aboriginal teacher, singer-songwriter and entertainer from the Yorta Yorta people was born the son of vaudevillian entertainers and as part of a dream to follow in the footsteps of his parents, he took up writing music in a gospel influenced style, using the music as a platform for early aboriginal reconciliation. An early single release of Little’s titled Give The Coloured Boy A Chance dealt with prejudice towards Aboriginals as did a film he took part in, Shadow Of The Boomerang, about a racist cattle station manager. Little is renowned for his contribution to the improvement of Aboriginal health and changing conceptions of Aboriginal people during the 1950s, 60s and 70s and he’s been recognised for his contributions with a number of honours such as the John Campbell Fellowship; and he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for his promotion of reconciliation between indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
May 3rd will see a Jimmy Little State Memorial Celebration Concert take place at the Sydney Opera House to recognise and honour the contribution of a treasured Yorta Yorta elder and Australian icon, with artists such as Archie Roach, Paul Kelly, Lou Bennet and Col Joye all paying tribute and offering the man a fitting farewell.
May 3, 9.30am, Sydney Opera House, free, sydneyoperahouse.com