ENTERTAINMENT
08/02/2020 11:41 AM AEDT | Updated 08/02/2020 2:54 PM AEDT

Eurovision 2020: Indigenous Australian Music Has Never Featured On International Stage, Mitch Tambo Wants To Change That

The proud Gamilaraay and Birri Gubba man is vying to represent Australia and sing in his traditional language.

In its five years being part of the famous Eurovision song contest, Australia’s Indigenous history has already started to shine through. 

After Isaiah Firebrace and Jessica Mauboy represented Australia in 2017 and 2018 respectively, First Nations musician Mitch Tambo wants to wave the flag in 2020, singing in his traditional language on the international stage. 

The 29-year-old Gamilaraay and Birri Gubba man is one of 10 local artists in the running for the position, and will find out at tonight’s Eurovision – Australian Decides final after performing in the first round last night.

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Mitch Tambo performs on Friday February 7 at Eurovision - Australia Decides on the Gold Coast.

If Mitch gets chosen, it will be the first time his language is showcased to the world at Eurovision.

“It’s who I am, so without it, my music would be void,” the former Australia’s Got Talent contestant told HuffPost Australia. “So to continue to have my language embedded in all my music is really at the core of it all. It’s the complete essence of who I am.”

Mitch, who grew up in Tamworth, NSW, said incorporating his language in his songs is an opportunity for reconciliation.

“To be able to have that and obviously incorporate English which is also a part of who I am, it’s the perfect mix and I think it’s a great way to bridge my story and bridge us all”.

“In our community growing up, you obviously hear different [music] styles. My drive really is to keep my culture alive as a Gamilaraay man. The drive to keep our language alive and to keep it well and to continue to revive it and have it there for the next generation.” 

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Indigenous artist Casey Donovan performed at Eurovision - Australia Decides on Friday February 7 on the Gold Coast.

Last night Mitch performed his special track, ‘Together’, which encourages people to come together in the best and worst of times.  

“It really does speak to triumph and if we can just come together, we can really conquer and get through everything and really get to where we need to be within our communities and family units,” he said. 

The other contestants competing for the Australia spot in the Eurovision Song Contest are fellow Indigenous artist Casey Donovan, Didirri, whose name is derived from an Aboriginal word, Dadirri, Vanessa Amorosi,  Diana Rouvas, Jack Vidgen, Didirri, iOTA, Jordan-Ravi, Montaigne and Jaguar Jonze. 

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Music duo Electric Fields with Zaachariaha Fielding and Michael Ross, competed in Eurovision - Australia Decides in 2019. Their song incorporated Indigenous language with English, and they finished as runner up but didn't make it to the international Eurovision song contest.
FRANCISCO LEONG via Getty Images
Jessica Mauboy performed during the final of the 63rd edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 at the Altice Arena in Lisbon. In 2014 she was invited as a guest on behalf of Australia and performed a song called 'Sea of Flags', which while not in traditional language, reflected her Indigenous Australian culture.
Brendan Hoffman via Getty Images
Isaiah Firebrace performed at the Eurovision Grand Final in 2017.

The live TV Final of Eurovision – Australian Decides airs on Saturday February 8 at 8.30pm on SBS.