MusicNT’s 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 and many past participants have gone on to get their own gigs at festivals, community concerts, corporate events and private parties.