More by this artist
More albums you may like
Reality Is - Chris Tamwoy
Drawing profound inspiration from his identity as a Torres Strait Islander and celebrating the cultural traditions and natural rhythms of his island homeland, rising star singer-songwriter and musician Chris Tamwoy delivers a captivating self-portrait with debut studio album Reality Is.
Recorded at Queensland’s storied Yama-Nui Studio and produced by the ARIA Award-winning Paulie “Paulie B” Bromley (Ash Grunwald, Katie Noonan), Reality Is showcases Tamwoy’ssignature virtuosic guitar-tap style, and boasts a suite of mesmerising vocal performances delivered in a mix Eastern and Western Torres Strait Islander language, Creole, and English.
“My whole album is based on the reality of life,” Tamwoy relates. “It’s about me and who I am: it’s me as an individual covering every inch, every aspect of who I am as a Torres Strait Islander. I wanted to bring in my identity and the clans I originate from in the Torres Strait.”
The 2020 single ‘Kulba Yaday’, featuring the incomparable Christine Anu, refers to “old talk”: a celebration of Torres Strait Islander culture and the passing down of knowledge between generations, is a mesmerising entry carried by transcendental vocal harmonies. “I’m very driven by my elders passing down information and keeping traditional culture alive from generation to generation,” Tamwoy explains. “I’ve been able to apply teachings from my elders to expressions of music and art. It’s a big influence in this album.”
Sung in Anu’s mother’s language Kalaw Kawaw Ya, ‘Kulba Yaday’ is a song of profound importance to Tamwoy’s musical family. Anu herself has said of Tamwoy, “Chris Tamwoy should be celebrated for an individuality, his uniqueness! I am proud to call him a peer who will have a massive impact in the industry.”
The album’s narrative songs are punctuated by a string of instrumentals that conjure the gently lapping wavelets of Tamwoy’s island country, and recall the likes of Xavier Rudd and John Butler: the richly resonant ‘Healing You’, frenetic album closer ‘LUV’, and the virtuosic ‘Waves’, with its hypnotic picking and tumbling rhythm, which is equal parts percussive and chiming with sweetness.
Adding profound and very personal importance to Reality Is is the album’s cover art, which depicts a totemic shark, crocodile, and stingray bound together by a patterned circle.
“Those three animals represent the three clans I’m from,” Tamwoy explains. “The crocodile sits to the left side, which represents my mother’s side, the shark sits to the right and represents my father’s side, and the stingray sits in the middle and is the clan animal for the Tamwoy clan.”
Projecting Tamwoy’s powerful connection to culture and country, Reality Is is the songbook of a master musician and uniquely captivating songsmith. Teeming with arresting images and sounds drawn from the Torres Strait, it’s an unforgettable insight into the world of an enduring star on the rise.