Sista Sounds has been visiting remote communities and Alice Springs schools and youth groups since 2011. It provides introductory music development workshops for women and girls which can include songwriting, singing, karaoke, practicing different instruments, setting up for a gig and looking after equipment and so on. Sista Sounds also advocates for more opportunities or safe places for women and girls to practice or learn music in.
Here is a map which shows the communities we have visited over the years. Click on each community to view details about the visits
After almost a decade of providing Sista Sounds in remote communities and that there are many more Indigenous women in music performing regularly, MusicNT now focusses on communities which have:
Strong interest from key community members and services for music activities for women and girls
a dedicated music room that women and girls can use or can set up regular times for women’s and girls’ music activities and actively support and encourage them to come along.
staff who can follow up or support women’s and girls’ access to space and equipment in between our visits
at least basic musical instruments and sound production equipment available for women and girls to use
Suitable accommodation for our facilitators to stay in.
Remote workshops are expensive and there are often long gaps between Sista Sounds visits to each community. Supporting “hubs” for women’s music out bush promotes more opportunities for artist and music development by encouraging individuals to keep on practicing and organisations like local Aboriginal Corporations, Remote Indigenous Media Organisations and Regional Councils to actively include women and girls in the regular music activities they provide, with advice and visits from SistaSounds and RAMP.Read More
MusicNT’s Indigenous Women’s Music Program (IWMP) started with a program called Desert Divas, offered each year in Alice Springs and created during a time when Indigenous women were rarely seen on stage and did not feel supported by the broader music industry. Through regular workshops, Divas provides female Indigenous singer/songwriters with expert mentors, practice and advice about writing songs or learning instruments, links to broader industry support, help with writing bios and setting up social media, etc. Our workshop series culminates in a Showcase giving participants experience in performing solo and as a group in a professionally produced, well supported public concert.
Possibly the biggest benefit of joining Divas is becoming part of a supportive community and surrounded by like-minded women and older girls all keen to perform original material (and the occasional cover) whether at open mics, community concerts, corporate gigs or festivals. Connections between participants themselves and with mentors often last through the years, with women continuing to support one another through their musical journeys independently from Divas.
Due to popular demand, MusicNT expanded the program to include Saltwater Divas which has been offered in Darwin every year since 2013. Between 2013 – 2016 we also ran Barkly Divas. Two compilation albums – Divas Vol I and Divas Vol 2 -featuring Indigenous female singer/songwriters from our Divas programs across the Territory have also been released. Divas have also performed regularly at MusicNT’s Bush Bands Bash. (link to Divas at Bush Bands page, not Bush Bands pages and also have a link to this page from any relevant entries associated with Bush Bands) and many past participants have gone on to get their own gigs at festivals, community concerts, corporate events and private parties.Read More
MusicNT’s Safe Venues Program works with local live music venues right across the
Northern Territory to create safer spaces for staff, performers and patrons that frequent
The need for such a program was identified after many discussions, over many years, with
local performers, music lovers and industry personnel that raised concerns regarding the
safety of key minority groups within the music community and the culture surrounding
safety at gigs.
The pilot year of the program has been made possible as a result of Territory Families’ Safe,
Respected and Free from Violence Grant, which has allowed MusicNT to roll the program out
across venues in Darwin, Palmerston, Katherine, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs.
When a venue elects to participate in the Safe Venue Program they agree to adhere to
safety standards as outlined in the program’s policy with the assistance of specialised staff
training, extensive program resources and the guidance of MusicNT’s Live Music Venue
Best Practice Guidelines.
You can go to work at one of these Safe Venues, either as a staff member or performer, or
can attend a gig at one of these venues, with the knowledge that the venue is working
diligently to increase safety standards and any safety concerns raised will be taken seriously.
You can view a full list of participating venues, take a look over the program’s resources or
provide us with your feedback on the initiative.
Ultimately, we aim to work together with the public and the Northern Territory’s best live
music venues to create safer spaces for all. Because, at the end of the day, no one’s good
time should come at the expense of somebody else’s.