Wantok foundation staff members
David Bridie is Artistic Director at Wantok music Foundation, as well as being one of Australia’s most prolific and innovative contemporary musicians. David rose to prominence in 1983 as a uniquely Australian pianist, vocalist and songwriter in the critically acclaimed band Not Drowning, Waving. In 1990 the band released their ground-breaking album Tabaran which was recorded in Papua New Guinea with local musicians including George Telek MBE and Pius Wasi. A decade and nine albums later, David formed the ARIA award-winning outfit My Friend the Chocolate Cake. The band won two ARIA Music Awards for Best Adult Contemporary albums for Brood and Good Luck and in 2008 won the prestigious Herald Angels award at the Edinburgh Festival.
Not one to be categorised, David has firmly established himself over the last thirty years as a producer, cultural theatre director and composer; having scored the soundtracks for over 100 international and Australian films, television series and documentaries, including Marni (2020), Secret City (2015 - 2018), Wolves (2015), Satellite Boy (2012), Bran Nue Dae (2009), Putuparri and the Rainmakers (2015), and The Straits (2012). In 2019 David was awarded the Best Music for a Documentary prize at the APRA Screen Music Awards for his score for the ABC documentary Australia’s Lost Impressionist.
David is the founder of the Wantok Musik Foundation and has produced albums for many artists such as Archie Roach, Christine Anu, Frank Yamma, Emily Wurramara and George Telek. In 2016 he was commissioned by the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) to create A Bit Na Ta, an audio/visual installation that shares 100 years of history of the Gazelle Peninsula, PNG, through the eyes of those that inhabit the province. The artwork was created in collaboration with Gideon Kakabin, George Telek and Keith Deverell, and has since exhibited at the Melbourne Museum, Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts and the PNG National Museum and Art Gallery.
In 2019, David was awarded the prestigious Australia Council Don Banks award, in recognition of his sustained contribution to the arts and music industries of Australia.
With his depth of musical experience, mentorship and resolute determination to support the careers of First Nations and Melanesian musicians, David continues to make an invaluable cultural contribution to the local, First Nations and Melanesian musical landscape.
Dave Walker is general manager at Wantok Musik Foundation. He works closely with Wantok artists, board members, partners and donors to create links and promote culturally-infused music. He brings several decades of experience as a musician, producer and sound engineer to the role, as well as significant experience working with First Nations artists. He is the studio manager at Capel Sound Studios, working with a range of artists and a great crew of creatives. He was sound technician on the 2018 and 2019 Bush Bands Business weeks for Music NT, and WA Arts Sand Tracks Tour tech to remote communities in the same years. Working with First Nations bands is a passion; recording and producing Black Rock Band's second album as well as remote recording in Gunbalanya have been highlights. Tour managing and working closely with Black Rock Band on the road and studio has taken him to some incredible places; the Guts Tour of the top end with Bad//Dreems in 2022 being a good example.
Anna Smyrk is label co-ordinator at the Wantok Musik Foundation, where she champions the work of First Nations artists from the Pacific region. With a decade of experience as an independent musician, Anna is deeply familiar with all aspects of the production, release and touring cycle. Degrees in Anthropology and a Masters in Communication have given her skills in working cross-culturally, as well as practical know-how in social media, publicity and digital marketing. Her experience working in Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea for several years, as well as in arts organisations in cross-cultural contexts, has given her a unique skill set in cultural protocols, understanding different styles of working and communication, and a high level of the Solomon Islands Pijin language. Anna's skills in communication, organisation, and working in highly diverse teams were developed through 7 years of working with the World Health Organisation in the Asia Pacific region.
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Wantok Musik Foundation is registered as a charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC).
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