Magazine article New Internationalist

[Little, Jimmy. Messenger]

Magazine article New Internationalist

[Little, Jimmy. Messenger]

Article excerpt

Well before singers such as Archie Roach or Kev Carmody or groups like Yothi Yindi or the Warumpi Band put Australian Aboriginal sounds on the musical map, there was Jimmy Little. Born in 1937 on the Cummeragunja mission, Little first came to public prominence in the early 1960s. Wrapping his light tenor voice around mainstream gospel songs -- and regarded, perhaps, as something of a novelty to white Australia at the time -- there was a haunting purity about his material and delivery that lingered well after the verse itself had ended.

Yet, interestingly, Little's choice of songs has nearly always been by other writers and in a style that has its roots in a Sinatra-like interpretative virtuosity. Much of his career predates the more overtly political work of such bands as No Fixed Abode -- an Aboriginal group who embraced Marley's mellifluous reggae as the source of their militant rhythms. …

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