Briggs announces Barpirdhila grant program to help First Nations artists impacted by COVID-19

“This is intended for artists who need that little push to get their project off the ground,” Briggs said in a press release

Briggs has announced the launch of Barpirdhila (which translates to Morning Star in the Yorta Yorta language), a new grant initiative aimed at helping First Nations artists who have been impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Grants of up to $10,000 will be made available to First Nations artists who are actively working on a forthcoming music project. Applicants are expected to have already made some progress on the project, and have it pegged for completion by end of the year. Recipients of the grant will have the funds contribute to third party costs that may arise in the production of their project.

It’s unclear exactly how many grants are on offer, however a press release noted that half of the total amount will be distributed to female artists, who are traditionally under-represented in such initiatives. Applications for Barpirdhila program are open now, and will close at 12:00am AEST on Monday August 1 – find the sign-up form here.

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Recipients will be decided upon by a five-member panel of judges. In addition to Briggs himself, the panel includes acclaimed producer, editor and curator Emily Nicol, award-winning journalist (and NME contributor) Sosefina Fuamoli, and The Deans Of Soul frontman Linc Yow Yeh. Damian Trotte, the managing director of Sony Music Publishing, will round out the panel.

Funding for the initiative will come in part from Trotte’s company, alongside VicHealth and the Australian Communities Foundation. It’s being spearheaded by Briggs through his non-profit organisation, the Adam Briggs Foundation, which has a primary objective of “nurtur[ing] development opportunities in the creative industries for First Nations people”.

Recipients of the Barpirdhila grants will be announced publicly on Thursday September 1.

“This is intended for artists who need that little push to get their project off the ground,” Briggs said in a press release, “or that extra bit of help to bring that project to fruition. A little bit of a hand can mean the difference between the world receiving a new voice and point of view or not.”

Meanwhile, it was confirmed back in April that Briggs was back in the studio with trials, the pair working on new music as A.B. Original. March saw them perform for the first time since 2020 – taking to the stage at this year’s WOMADelaide festival, with their set joined by Courtney Barnett, Mo’Ju, Thelma Plum, Birdz and Fred Leone.

A.B. Original’s last studio album was their 2016 debut full-length ‘Reclaim Australia’. The release, which featured collaborations with Gurrumul Yunupingu, Dan Sultan, Thelma Plum and more, went on to win the Australian Music Prize that year. The duo released a popular cover of Paul Kelly‘s ‘Dumb Things’ (featuring Kelly himself) as part of triple j’s Like A Version series in 2017, and released the standalone single ‘Blaccout’ in 2018.

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Since then, both members have pursued solo endeavours. Briggs released his latest EP, ‘Always Was’, in 2020, and last year shared the Troy Cassar-Daley collaboration ‘Shadows’.

Speaking to NME back in 2020, Briggs indicated he was interested in the idea of another A.B. Original project with trials. “We’re always thinking about that – ’cause that’s your mate! Me and him have been mates since forever,” the rapper said. “So it’d make all the sense in the world to do that. We want to do it, definitely – don’t know when.”

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