CAAMA Music is excited to announce the winners of the Alukura songwriting competition, (Alukura meaning ‘women’ in the Arrernte language) which will see eight Aboriginal female singer-songwriters from around Australia flown to record at the CAAMA Music studios in Alice Springs between 12-25 April.

“We were really impressed by the amazing musical talent out there, and can’t wait to work with these talented artists to develop their musical careers. The world will be hearing all about these artists really soon”, says Micheal ‘Miko’ Smith, Manager of CAAMA Music.

The winners range in age and experience, with some at the very early stages of their musical careers, such as Alice Anderson, a 19 year old Wergaia woman from Horsham, Victoria who has only basic knowledge of the recording process but says “When it comes to music I am always ready for a challenge and believe there is always something new to learn, and I am absolutely honoured to learn through talented people of my own culture”.

Simpsons Gap credit Alwyn Simple

Simpsons Gap credit Alwyn Simple


The winners also include Thalia Skopellos (artist name Thaylia), from Sydney, who is currently studying a Bachelor of Music and last year released her own single ‘Hope’, which went to Number 1 on the AMRAP music chart for 3 weeks. “I am truly humbled and excited about this experience. Not only is it an important opportunity musically it will also be beautiful to finally visit Alice Springs for the first time and connect to land and culture. Something I have not done since I was a kid was sleep in a swag under the stars, and I can’t WAIT!”

Kristal West from Brisbane, one half of the musical duo ZK that featured on The Voice in 2014, is looking forward to developing her solo skills, saying “I have a lot space to grow and I truly believe this is the opportunity I have been waiting for”.

The experience will include songwriting workshops and in-depth sessions about the music business and self-promotion, as well as workshops by popular Sydney duo The Stiff Gins, who will be bringing their song writing, performance and industry expertise to the project as mentors. Each participant will also record a song in CAAMA Music’s newly upgraded and state-of-the-art recording studio, to be included on a compilation album released later in the year.

The trip will also include a night spent sleeping under the stars in swags on the West MacDonnell Ranges, as well as cultural and musical exchange with the nearby community of Hermannsburg/Ntaria, 131 southwest of Alice Springs.

 The list of winners are:

 Donna Velia Woods – Hobart, TAS

Kelsey Strasek-Barker – Gold Coast, QLD

Alice Anderson – Horsham, VIC

Thalia Skopellos – Sydney, NSW

Bec Gollan – Northhaven, SA

Kristal West – Brisbane, QLD

Mandy Garling – Darwin, NT

Dora Smith – Broome, WA


With special thanks to our sponsors of the Alukura Competition:



Australia Council logo



Aurora Alice Springs Logo High Res copy





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CAAMA MUSIC is an Alice Springs-based company, owned and operated by Aboriginal Australians, which has been recording, supporting and promoting Aboriginal music for more than 30 years. It is part of the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association, Australia’s leading Aboriginal owned and controlled media organisation delivering culturally relevant content that helps preserve and maintain indigenous culture.