Author Identifier

Clint Bracknell

Document Type

Book Chapter


Aboriginal Studies Press


Kurongkurl Katitjin




Australian Research Council

Grant Number

ARC Number : IN170100022


Bracknell, C. (2019). Identity, language and collaboration in Indigenous music. In L. Bamblett, F. Myers & T. Rowse (Eds.), The difference identity makes: Indigenous cultural capital in Australian cultural fields (pp. 99-123). Canberra, ACT: Aboriginal Studies Press. Available here


I begin this chapter by arguing against any sort of prescriptive definitions for Indigenous Australian music. I will then illustrate change in public discourse on Indigenous music by examining the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) awards for Best Indigenous Release (1987-1998) and for Best World Music Album (1999-2016). The chapter then proceeds to highlight two increasingly common features of the work of Indigenous musical artists: reference to one's specific Indigenous cultural identity (e.g. Noongar, Bundjalung, Yorta Yorta) in popular music performance, and writing and performing popular music in Indigenous languages. The chapter concludes by illustrating how frequently Indigenous artists collaborate with non-Indigenous artists in the production and performance of popular music. These practices serve as examples of Indigenous agency: position-taking within the cultural field of popular music.

Research Themes

Society and Culture

Priority Areas

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander society and culture