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Emma Donovan

20 October 2023

Bringing her celebrated fusion of classic soul, roots and Indigenous songcraft to the Joan Sutherland Theatre, ARIA-nominated icon Emma Donovan makes her headlining debut at the Sydney Opera House.

An ambitious depth of feeling, both lyrically and musically.

The Monthly

A First Nations music icon makes her Opera House headline debut

Fresh from her electrifying performance in ARETHA, Australia’s very own soul and roots icon Emma Donovan returns with an all-new band to the Sydney Opera House, premiering her forthcoming, country-flavoured sound in her headline debut show at the Joan Sutherland Theatre.

The celebrated Indigenous singer and songwriter has been sharing her stories and songs for more than 20 years, fusing the power of classic American R&B, soul and country with the unique cultural perspective of her Noongar and Gumbaynggirr ancestry. Along the way, she has collaborated with the legendary likes of Paul Kelly, Christine Anu, Yothu Yindi, Uncle Archie Roach, Aunty Ruby Hunter, and many more.

Donovan is best known for her work in the Black Arm Band, a project dedicated to iconic songs of the Aboriginal resistance movement, and as the lead singer for Melbourne rhythm combo The Putbacks, a collaboration that drew upon their shared love of American soul and the protest songs of Indigenous Australia. Driven by Donovan’s powerful voice and richly layered storytelling, The Putbacks won consecutive AIR Awards for Best Soul/R&B album for 2021’s Crossover and last year’s irresistibly funky Under These Streets, while both received nominations for ARIA awards and the prestigious Australian Music Prize. She’s currently at work on a forthcoming country album, due for release next year.

NSW Government

This program is proudly supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW Blockbusters Funding initiative

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