James Henry is a First Nations composer, sound designer and musician, writing various blends of traditional Aboriginal and contemporary genres. He has served on the Wantok board for 3 years. His diverse skill set has seen him compose for Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Philharmonia Choir and musical director for the Dreamtime at the G opening ceremonies, as musical director of 'Tanderrum' Melbourne Festival Opening Ceremonies, various theatre and dance productions as well as commissions. James earned a nomination for best documentary score at the 2022 AACTA Awards for his work on ‘Freeman’.
James has toured around the country performing as a solo artist as well as a featured performer on national and international tours with the Black Arm Band and Buried Country.
Having worked closely with various communities reviving their languages through song and recently completing his fellowship learning about traditional Aboriginal music and finding ways to incorporate it in to contemporary contexts and genres, he is able to walk the fine line between what is innovative but remaining culturally appropriate and sensitive. He is able to explore these avenues with his own compositions and commissions all the way from Techno to full orchestral pieces.
Chryss Carr is a music management and promotions professional. She has served on the Wantok board for 6 years. From trial by fire at Mushroom Records as a teenager to her trailblazing work with breakthrough First Nations musicians in the new century, she has helped turn landmark Australian artists into household names for more than 30 years.
Chryss founded AUM in Darwin in 1999, after 17 years working in the top echelons of international promotions. With Mushroom, Virgin and EMI she worked on major campaigns for David Bowie, Lenny Kravitz, Massive Attack, Culture Club and Madness. Six years as International Director of Marketing for the South Sea Pearl Consortium honed her PR skills at the luxury end of the global marketplace of Vogue and Valentino.
With AUM she prioritised cultural engagement, social responsibility and unique homegrown talent with a roster of voices — Gurrumul, Dan Sultan, Benny Walker, Gawurra, Baker Boy — who would spearhead a new wave of distinguished First Nations success stories. She helped put the Darwin Festival and the National Indigenous Music Awards on the national media map, and remains a highly respected advocate for the self-determined expression of First Nations artists.
Steven Gagau is a cultural researcher and community collaborator with the University of Sydney, where he works at the digital archive, PARADISEC (Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures). He focuses on archival and curatorial metadata enrichments on Melanesian Pacific collections through connections and collaborations with community outreach projects incorporating indigenous and cultural perspectives and traditional knowledge. He is a co-producer of the Toksave Podcast series and cultural researcher on the collaborative project ‘True Echoes’ with the British Library for reconnecting indigenous communities with historic audio records of sung and spoken cultures of Oceania.
Steven also partners with the Chau Chak Wing Museum exhibitions, as co-curator of Pacific Views which brings to life the historic landscape images, voices, songs and poetry of Pacific peoples connecting the past to contemporary perspectives on history and culture and the Sydney Environment Institute as the Pacific community collaborator and research support to Pacific Renewables research project on unsettling resources to transition to renewable energy in the Pacific.
Steven’s cultural heritage is Tolai of Gunantuna people of New Britain Island in Papua New Guinea, a diaspora community leader for PNG, Melanesia and Pasifika communities in Sydney NSW, member of Pacific Cultural Collection Advisory Panel of the Australian Museum and associated with various voluntary and not-for-profit organisations and professional associations.
Patrick Mau is a hip-hop artist (Mau Power) and music business entrepreneur. He joined the Wantok board in 2023. Hailing from the cultural centre-point of the Torres Strait Islands, with proud heritage from the Dhoebaw Clan of the Guda Maluilgal nations, he works to use his music to share the story of his people to audiences all over the world. He hasenjoyed significant success over his career, including performing as the Australian delegate at Festival Of Pacific Arts in Guam
And at the 2018 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony.
Patrick created and runs a Record and distribution label, film production and media company
company called OBHI (One Blood Hidden Image) Entertainment Group. The company brings people together for a music experiences to remember through live performance, creates opportunity and possibility for young people and reinvests a substantial portion of profits back into meaningful community programs in music, film, creative arts and live production.
Tanya McLaine is the Venue Operations Manger at Footscray Community Arts Centre and the founder and director of Sona Productions, an events, booking, touring and artist development agency. She joined the Wantok board in 2023. In her professional roles, she works alongside local and international musicians, festivals, venues and government departments to carve out the new, inclusive face our communities through music, culture and arts, ensuring that we build social cohesion through diversity, unity and representation.
Tanya is part of Music Victoria’s Alumni for the Music Professionals Program (2018), Music Victoria Awards Judge, regular delegate at WOMEX (EU), and was a featured music professional for Access All Areas - a collaborative program for the music industry, LGTBQIA+ community and women’s health stakeholders to advance opportunities for gender equity, diversity and safety in music industry settings in Melbourne.
With an eye for talent, Tanya has worked with some of Victoria’s most eminent musicians including: Black Jesus Experience, Ajak Kwai, Ausecuma Beats, Maubere Timor, Amaru Tribe, Yusupha Ngum, Asanti Dance Theare and many more.
Adrian Basso has been a key player in the Australian music industry for over 20 years. He has served on the Wantok board for 2 years. Adrian was general manager at PBS 106.7FM for over 15 years. During Basso’s tenure, the station grew into a nationally and internationally respected music institution that has survived many challenges, including the Global Financial Crisis and the Covid pandemic, to emerge bigger and stronger than ever before.
He was President of the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA) for six years during which he fronted the national campaign that successfully lobbied the federal government for adequate funding for community radio stations to broadcast on the digital radio platform. Basso holds degrees in accounting and in music. He has been passionately involved in community radio for more than 20 years, having worked previously at classical music station 3MBS.
Peter Siedel is a lawyer with the firm Arnold Bloch Leibler. He has served on the Wantok board for 10 years. Peter joined Arnold Bloch Leibler as a lawyer in 1993 and became a partner in 2002. Prior to joining the firm, Peter completed a three-year position at the Federal Court of Australia as the Associate to the then Acting Chief Justice of the Federal Court, Justice Charles Sweeney. Peter is entered on the High Court Register of Practitioners and is entitled to practice as a barrister and solicitor of both the Federal Court and Supreme Court of Victoria. Notably, Peter represented the Yorta Yorta Aboriginal peoples in their landmark native title claim, High Court appeal and associated legal transactions.
For many years now Peter has been highlighted as one of Australia’s leading lawyers by prominent international legal guides Chambers Asia Pacific, The Legal 500 Asia Pacific and Best Lawyers International in the area of native title and traditional owner rights, for his deep commitment to empowering traditional owners. Complementing this, Peter has been similarly recognised by Chambers Asia Pacific in the area of charities for his wealth of experience working for the not-for-profit sector on a range of matters including constitutional, governance and contractual issues.
In 2020, Peter was awarded Lawyers Weekly ‘Pro Bono Partner of the Year’. Peter is also a previous recipient of the prestigious Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission’s Human Rights Award in the Law Category, in recognition of his significant contribution to the promotion and advancement of human rights in Australia. Amongst other important Indigenous bodies Peter represents, he acts as a trusted adviser to Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation, Anindilyakwa Land Council, Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation, First Australians Capital, Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation, Lowitja Institute and Ramahyuck District Aboriginal Corporation.
Dr Lachlan Strahan is the former Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands. . He joined the Wantok board in 2023. He worked at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for 20 years until his recent retirement. In this role, he led the department’s UN, human rights, Commonwealth, conflict prevention and gender equality teams and played a key leadership role in Australia’s successful campaign to win election to the Human Rights Council for the 2018-2020 term. Lachlan was a senior advocate for the Department’s Indigenous Employees Network.
He has published several articles and two books, “Australia’s China: changing perceptions from the 1930s to the 1990s” and “Day of Reckoning,” which was shortlisted for the 2006 New South Wales Premier’s Australian History Prize. Presently Lachlan works as a freelance writer.
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