Port Fairy Folk Festival announced duo Gina Williams & Guy Ghouse as the 2020 Artists of the Year and Ruby Gill as Emerging Artist of the Year.
Caroline Moore, Program Director of the Port Fairy Folk Festival said that these three artists brought incredible strength and diversity to the Australian folk scene.
“Gina Williams & Guy Ghouse are stunning artists whose music is a celebration of life, community and a shared humanity. The depth of their talent is extraordinary, and I am so pleased that the Festival is able to recognize their great contributions to our music and cultural scene with this Award. I am also so very excited that we are able to acknowledge the great talent of Ruby Gill, with the Emerging Artist Award. She is a captivating young performer and I can’t wait for her to take to the stage at Port Fairy in 2020,” said Caroline.
With a reputation firmly established in bringing a fresh take on ancient traditions and merging evocative sounds, Gina Williams & Guy Ghouse are natural storytellers through song. Their use of the Noongar language in their songwriting perfectly captures the essence of two good friends, performing beautifully crafted musical stories. Prior to receiving this award, Gina Williams has taken out the WA Music Industry Award for Best Indigenous Artist on four separate occasions.
In a joint statement, Gina and Guy said: “We are deeply honoured and humbled to accept this prestigious award. We stand with those who have gone before us and fought to pave the way for our beautiful languages to be heard again, and we are forever grateful to the elders and community who stand with us today. Our hope is that through hearing and understanding the languages of the land on which we live, we can begin to walk together in healing, understanding and love. What a wonderful, magical thing it is to be supported in what we do with this beautiful Noongar language. We are eternally grateful.”
Taking the world by storm, from Oppikoppi to Woodford, South African-born, Melbourne-based singer, songwriter and pianist Ruby Gill draws inspiration from the likes of Joni Mitchell and Regina Spektor with career-defining grit. Her 2018 debut single, Your Mum received rave reviews across the globe off the back of a sold-out tour of South Africa.
Stating that the Port Fairy Folk Festival had already formed so much of her emerging already, Ruby Gill said: ‘’Port Fairy Folk Festival was my first musical home in this big country, and simply gracing a stage there has been top of my bucket list since arriving in Australia. Now to be recognised over and above that by a community of deck chairs and gentle stares and profound songwriting that I respect so much is ridiculous and incredibly special.’’
The Artist of the Year Award was established in 1995 and recognises artists who have made a significant contribution to the music community, culture and industry. Previous recipients include the Kasey Chambers, John Butler, Archie Roach, The Waifs, Mick Thomas, Dobe Newton, Kavisha Mazella, Tiddas, Margret RoadKnight, Neil Murray, Rick E Vengeance, Judy Small, Chris While & Julie Matthews, Marcia Howard, Mic Conway, Eric Bogle and the inaugural recipient, the late Danny Spooner.
The Artist of the Year Award is proudly sponsored by Towards Zero TAC. The Emerging Artist of the Year Award is proudly sponsored by Just Guitars.
Gina Williams & Guy Ghouse and Ruby Gill will perform at the 44th Port Fairy Folk Festival across the March long weekend.