Kutcha Full Bio
“...it was the giant Kutcha Edwards who had the audience by the throat. I don’t think I’ve seen a more soulful performance in my life...”
— Murundak review, Jason Blake, The Herald Sun
“Kutcha was at once mesmeric, raucous, poignant, and cheeky for the first of his four sets and was awarded with the festivals’ Artist of the Year Award following the set.”
— Jack Latimore The Age, SMH
“Circling Time is a magnificent, life-affirming triumph, and Kutcha is quite possibly the finest contemporary singer of his generation.”
— Rhythms Magazine
“The new album is profound and a timely reminder of the incredible depth and talent of one of the most inspiring voices within the country.”
— Forte Magazine
Kutcha Edwards has been prolifically combining songwriting and activism since 1991, when he joined Koori group Watbalimba and began the remarkable journey that has taken him from the tiny Riverina town of Balranald to tours of Australia and the world. It is his experiences as a survivor of the Stolen Generations and his proud Mutti Mutti heritage that has shaped his diverse creative output in groups like Blackfire and The Black Arm Band. At the same time he's also been able to forge a successful solo career combining his ‘Bidgee’ blues with traditional songs of
people and country.
Beginning in 2002 with his friends Paul Kelly and Paul Hester (Crowded House) he created his first solo album, Cooinda. In 2007, he released his second solo CD titled Hope, co-produced with Richard Pleasance. Inspired by the Songlines told on the albums, Kutcha wrote, produced and performed his first theatre-based and VIPA award winning show, Songlines of a Mutti Mutti Man, to full houses at the Arts Centre Melbourne’s George Fairfax Studio.
Kutcha created a one-man version of his story called yuyukatha and toured it throughout Victoria. He went on to produce two further solo albums blak n blu and Beneath the Surface.
Kutcha says music chose him and the same can be said for his work in radio and prisons. He has produced Beyond the Bars Live Prison Radio broadcasts with 3CR in Fitzroy for the last 20 years. The broadcast received a Human Rights award for the work of giving voice to the voiceless.
Kutcha created a successful Screen Australia web series Kutcha’s Koorioke at Yirramboi Arts Festival 2019, featuring Archie Roach, Dan Sultan, Alice Skye, and Emily Wurramara to name a few.
The second series was televised through NITV and SBS on Demand over the summer of 2022/2023 featuring artists including Emma Donovon, Mo’ju, Allara, Bumpy and local legend and regular passenger Uncle Jack Charles.
Kutcha’s latest album, ‘Circling Time’, recorded during the lock downs of 2020 and 2021 was launched at the Arts Centre in Melbourne. The album features some of Kutcha’s most brilliant work receiving wide acclaim. The chorus for first single ‘We Sing’ features a choir of 70 voices that include Archie Roach, Paul Kelly, Judith Durham, Joe Geia, Emily Wurramara, Emma Donovan, Rebecca Barnard and many, many more. We Sing is a moving anthem that sings for Love, Justice, Freedom and Peace. Produced by Andy Stewart this incredible song can be seen and heard at here. Another featured release Mrs Edwards, is deeply moving tribute to Kutcha’s mother. Music videos were also released for Mrs Edwards and Singing Up Country, Kutcha sings ‘Always been here, Nothing to fear, Make’n it Clear, Never gonna disappear..We’ve done nothing wrong, It’s where we belong’
‘Circling Time’ was a defining release for Kutcha nominated for both the Australian Music Prize and a Music Victoria Award, it was beautifully reviewed and revered by a plethora of media and tastemakers. Kutcha released the album during the tumultuous times of COVID. Last year he managed to pick up some of the lost touring opportunities heading out with the theatre show Kutcha and his wife Fiona Dean co-wrote and produced titled ‘Circling Time –
Songs & Stories’, to regional Victoria, parts of NSW and WA on runs of shows. Kutcha played at festivals including WOMAD- SA, Port Fairy Festival (where is was named Artist of the Festival), and BIGSOUND in Brisbane where he opened the festival at the Fortitude Music Hall to a standing ovation.
He has delivered Keynote Speaker addresses for a plethora of institutions and companies ranging from, Caulfield Grammar School, PHN in Gippsland and the Aboriginal Health Conference in Perth. He was also invited to speak at Parliament while he was in WA.
From Amanda Proposch Chief Executive Officer PHN
‘Thank you for a powerful message, the ripples from that pebble you dropped touched all those in attendance at the Gippsland PHN event. Your message of respect, connection, footprints, culture and responsibility were incredibly powerful and were an arrow designed for our hearts and minds & you hit your target. The telling of your beautiful family’s story, the impact of colonisation, the taking of children, the fear, the hurt, the disrespect, the dishonour and the ongoing fight for peace, love, freedom and justice and healing was the sharpest arrow that pierced. All strength to your arm Kutcha and all strength to your Songline, may it live forever.’
In amongst this activity Kutcha has played at events for The Melbourne Fringe, Triple R, and he took a primary role at the intercultural song writing exchange with Songs for Peace ( Big hART) in September 2022 that culminated in a prison concert in Roebourne WA. These productions will go on to be showcased across Australia in 2023/2024 in various locations including, Mona Foma- TAS (2022), Canberra Festival, and in Sydney, Darwin, and Brisbane.
Kutcha uses music to create connections across cultures, generations, and spaces. With an innate ability to communicate, he uses his unique, diverse talents to nurture understanding and self-knowledge amongst all those with whom he has contact. Kutcha is a Songman, not simply a songwriter. He draws on a profound sense of all those who have gone before him on this land, along with his own life experiences, to help his audiences understand
themselves, reconnect with their culture and promote cultural understanding. His music touches the soul and through his humour and insights we realise that with recognition of the true Aboriginal history, there can be hope of reconciliation.
Honours & Awards
2021 Australia Council Fellowship
2017 Multicultural Arts Victoria – Outstanding Contribution to World Music
2016 Melbourne Prize for Music
2016 Distinguished Musician Fellowship – Victorian College of the Arts & Melbourne Conservatorium
2016 Induction in to the NIMA Hall of Fame
2015 Induction on to the Victorian Aboriginal Honour Roll
2007 VIPA Award - Songlines of a Mutti Mutti Man (Victorian Indigenous Performing Arts Award)
2001 National Indigenous Person Award
2001 Deadly Award - Best Male Artist
2021 CIRCLING TIME – Album produced by Andy Stewart ( Goyte)
2021 SINGING UP COUNTRY - Single produced by Andy Stewart
2020 WE SING – Single produced by Andy Stewart
2016 BENEATH THE SURFACE - Album produced by Brendan Gallagher
2012 BLAK & BLU - Album produced by Craig Pilkington
2010 yuyukatha - Produced by Kutcha Edwards
2007 HOPE - Album produced by Richard Pleasance
2002 COOINDA - Album produced by Paul Hester, Paul Kelly, David Bridie
2022 Port Fairy Folk Festival – Artist of the Year
2022 The Riverboats Festival
2021 Brunswick Music Festival
2021 Inverloch Sounds of Summer Festival
2021 Archies Creek – The Caravan Club
2021 Port Fairy Folk Festival – Concert Session Series
2020 Cygnet Folk Festival - Tasmania
2020 Share the Spirit Festival - Melbourne
2020 Two Worlds Festival - Melbourne
2019/2021 Yirramboi Festival
2019 Connecting Places Tour of Victoria & Tasmania
2019 Bruthen Blues Festival
2019 Ventana Festival - Frankston Arts Centre
2019 City of Monash - Winter Concert Series
2008/2014/2019 Yabun, Sydney Survival Day
2018 Brunswick Music Festival – Sydney Road Street Party
2018 Songs for Reconciliation Concert – Federation Square, Melb
2018 This Place Project – City of Darebin
2017 Wominjeka Festival
2017 Red Dusty Road Concert with Coloured Stone
2017 Newstead Live Festival