Breakthrough Indigenous contemporary music pilot initiative
[The] Breakthrough Program has been the most important break in our music career so far.
—Thomas Busby of Busby Marou, 2009 Breakthrough recipient
The Breakthrough: Emerging Indigenous Contemporary Musicians Recording Initiative (Breakthrough) provides funding to emerging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander musicians and bands to produce a high quality recording of original tracks, suitable for broadcasting and commercial release. The program aims to provide greater exposure for the talent and creativity of Indigenous musicians as well as increase national and international audiences for Australian Indigenous contemporary music.
Breakthroughprovides funding of up to $25,000 per successful applicant for eligible costs to help produce a high quality recording of their original tracks.
Breakthrough is one of the outcomes of the Indigenous Contemporary Music Action Plan.
Third round of Breakthrough grants announced!
On 29 March 2012 the Minister for the Arts, the Hon Simon Crean MP, announced the recipients of the third round of Breakthrough grants:
- Radical Son—a Sydney-based soul singer, rapper and spoken word artist who performs with a seven-piece band.
- B2M—a six member Tiwi Island group who performs rhythm and blues, pop, rap and dance beats in English and Tiwi.
- Sunshine Reggae Band—a six member group from Ikuntji (Haasts Bluff), 250 kilometres west of Alice Springs, who play desert reggae in their local Luritja language and English.
The third round of Breakthrough was highly competitive with 25 applications submitted by aspiring Indigenous musicians around Australia.
Funding for Breakthrough in 2011–12 is provided through the Australian Government's Indigenous Culture Support initiative and the Indigenous Languages Support initiative.
Breakthrough Assessment Panel
The Minister for the Arts appointed a skills-based assessment panel with representation from the Indigenous contemporary music sector and recording industry to evaluate funding applications and provide recommendations for his consideration. The Panel members were: Ms Christine Anu, Mr Graham 'Buzz' Bidstrup and Mr Stephen Pigram.
The Panel assessed each application against the selection criteria as published in the Breakthrough Program Guidelines and provided their advice to the Minister for the Arts.
For more information about Breakthrough, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previous Breakthrough recipients
The 2010 Breakthrough artists were:
- The Medics—a four member indie group from Cairns, Queensland
- Whitehouse—a four member funk/rap/rock group from Sydney, New South Wales
- Sue Ray—a country/folk singer/songwriter from Toowoomba, Queensland, and
- The Iwantja band—a five member desert reggae/blues/heavy metal group from the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in South Australia.
In 2009, Breakthrough funding was provided to:
- Busby Marou—alternative/country duo from Rockhampton, Queensland
- Leah Flanagan Band—country/folk/world music band from Darwin, Northern Territory
- Microwave Jenny—folk/jazz duo based in New South Wales Central Coast and Wagga Wagga
- Stiff Gins—folk/country duo from Sydney, New South Wales, and
- Street Warriors—hip hop/rap group of three from Newcastle and Sydney, New South Wales.
(left to right): Busby Marou, photo: Dane Beesly; Iwantja Band, photo: Patrick McCloskey; Leah Flanagan, photo: Polly Armstrong; Street Warriors ‘I Rep for My Mob' photo: Peter Collie; The Medics, photo: Hailey Bartholomew.