Tom Waits praises Cairns Indigenous choir’s rendition of ‘Make It Rain’

Waits called Spinifex Gum and Emma Donovan's rendition "gorgeous"

Tom Waits has taken to social media to give praise to a Cairns Indigenous Choir for their cover of his 2004 track ‘Make It Rain’.

As first reported by The Music, singer-songwriter Emma Donovan teamed up with Spinifex Gum, the side project of The Cat Empire‘s Felix Riebl and Ollie McGill, as well as Indigenous all-female choir Marliya, to perform the cover at Sydney Opera House last year.

The performance was aired last week as part of the iconic venue’s digital programming they’ve delivered throughout 2020 in lieu of live music, and Waits himself caught wind of the cover – and loved it.


“An Aboriginal choir hailing from Cairns, Queensland, Spinifex Gum performed this gorgeous rendition of “Make It Rain”, sung partly in the traditional Aboriginal Yindjibarndi language,” Waits tweeted.

He then posted the cover on his own YouTube channel, which you can watch below:

The full Spinifex Gum performance, which took place in January 2019 as part of Sydney Festival, also saw appearances from Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett, Briggs and more.

You can watch the full show via the Sydney Opera House’s YouTube channel.

Tom Waits hasn’t released an album since 2011’s ‘Bad as Me’, and as remained mostly quiet throughout 2020. He did, however, offer a touching tribute to late music and television producer Hal Willner, who passed away in April.