A veteran of the Australian stage and screen, Tom E. Lewis also has a distinguished career in music.
He pioneered the didjeridu in contemporary music, specialising in jazz forms, through his decade long performance career as half of Lewis & Young. The internationally acclaimed duo featured at more than 30 international festivals and events through the nineties and played every jazz and major music festival in Australia. Tom also played and recorded didjeridu for classical musicians Uli Klein, Jane Rutter, Eve Duncan and composer George Dreyfus.
Turning his attention to guitar and songwriting in the late nineties, Tom’s $2 song won Port Fairy’s best original song in 2001 and went on to feature on his debut CD Sunshine After Rain (Skinnyfish Music 2006).
Sunshine After Rain won Music Release of the Year in the NT Indigenous Music Awards 2006. Tom performed his original compositions at Woodford in 2003 and 2004 and at the Dreaming Festival, Woodford in 2005, 2007 and the Telstra Art Awards and Monsoon Sessions in Darwin in 2006, Glastonbury Festival UK in 2010, and back to Darwin Festival August 2013.
Since 2002 Tom has been the Artistic Director of Beswick Community’s annual event Walking With Spirits, featuring concert performances which blend traditional Aboriginal music with everything from String Quartets to the legendary guitar sound of Ross Hannaford.
In May 2007 he co-produced and arranged for the CD release Muyngarnbi – Songs from Walking With Spirits (Djilpin Arts), winning Best Traditional Album at the 2008 NT Indigenous Music Awards.
Tom was awarded the Australian Film Commission’s Bob Maza Fellowship in 2005 and in 2006 the Australia Council’s Red Ochre Award for lifetime achievement in indigenous arts.