MEET THE MUSICIANS BEHIND PROUD, PROUD WOMAN • Bondi Festival arrow-leftarrow-rightmagnifying-glassshare-iconshopping-cart-iconstar-iconuser-icon


Ahead of their performances at Proud, Proud Woman: A Ruby Hunter Tribute, we caught up with musicians Earl Weir, John Grant, Dan Mac, Elliott Hammond and Michael Tramonte, and asked them about the impact the late Ngarrindjeri, Kokatha and Pitjantjatjara musician’s music has had on their musical journeys, their favourite songs and what’s in store for audiences at this special tribute concert.


How do you feel about being part of a tribute to such an icon of music and culture?

Earl Weir 🎸 It’s super special, knowing Ruby has performed her first live show at the Bondi Pavillion holds a special place any time I’ve performed there. To commemorate Ruby’s music and story along with other amazing artists with unique story’s also is something I’m really looking forward to, Ruby’s spirit bringing us all together to share her story of resilience, hope, love, forgiveness and culture, we’re looking forward to what the night brings.

Dan Mac 🎸 It’s an honour to be able to play some of these songs. And with such a talented group of artists too. Aunty Ruby’s music is a cornerstone of Australian culture and I just hope I can do a little bit to bring it to life in a live setting.


Did Ruby Hunter’s music inspired you in your creative journey?

John Grant 🎸 Her music plays a very personal connection to my own music career as her voice, along with Archie Roach’s, was one of the first i remember hearing, and the way that her voice embraces vulnerability and imperfection to create her own unique singing style is something that i admire and in an era where people look to create a “perfect” vocal, i find her voice to be a pioneer of ones own vocal style.


What is your favourite Ruby Hunter song? Why?

Elliott Hammond🎸 ‘Wet Heart No Tears’, it is a beautiful song with a powerful narrative. It has become particularly moving after learning more about Ruby’s personal journey.

Earl Weir 🎸 ‘Proud Proud Woman’, knowing this is the track and record that led her to national and international audiences , this piece gave the wider Australia a true look at what was happening to so many of our Indigenous people, and helped ignite further work into justices for stolen generations , and indigenous culture, through these art pieces Ruby was able to breakthrough the injustices being dealt to our people .

John Grant 🎸 My favourite song by Ruby Hunter is a duet she did with Archie Roach called Louis St John. It’s one of the first musical memories i have, going on long drives with my family, my Father would put it on and her voice always stuck with me, The deep and soulful tones always hit my soul and everytime i hear that song it takes me back to those long drives. The way that Ruby and Archies voices intertwine with each other, you can definitely hear and feel the love between them and also there love of music


How do you think Aunty Ruby has shaped the landscape of Australian music?

Elliott Hammond🎸 I think she is incredibly Important as an Indigenous female artist, who was able to create something timeless and beautiful out of the turmoil and confusion of living through the stolen generation and all of the pain and suffering caused by it. I find it incredibly inspiring when people can lift themselves above this and still create beauty.

Dan Mac 🎸 Mostly I think her music is really genuine and authentic – which can be a rare thing in Australian music. There’s a tendency to not want to feel too much, to keep it light. I think Aunty Ruby’s music is so very genuine, but maintains lightness as well – personally I find it nearly impossible to write in this way, so it’s always so good when I hear something which does this.


What is something that you hope audiences will take away from the tribute?

Michael Tramonte 🎸 I think this is going to be a really special and intimate night of great songs with great artists. I hope audiences relish in the songs and continue to absorb the importance of indigenous culture and its music.

John Grant 🎸 I hope audiences take away the rich storytelling and vulnerability that is in her songs and then listen to her discography and take in the power and vulnerability that is her own distinct voice.


Catch Earl Weir, John Grant, Dan Mac, Elliott Hammond and Michael Tramonte at Proud, Proud Woman: A Ruby Hunter Tribute on Saturday 6 July 2024.




Image Credits: Jacqueline Mitelman Ruby Hunter 1996 (printed 2012) National Portrait Gallery of Australia © Jacqueline Mitelman

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    Bondi Festival acknowledges the Bidiagal, Birrabirragal and Gadigal people, who traditionally occupied the Sydney Coast, and we pay respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders both past and present.