Auriel Andrew OAM (1947 – 2 January 2017) was an Indigenous Australian country musician of the Arrernte people of Central Australia. Andrew was born in Darwin, and grew up in Alice Springs, Northern Territory, leaving for Adelaide, South Australia aged 21 to pursue her music career.
Auriel came from the Arrernte people in Alice Springs. Her skin name was Mbitjana and her totem was the hairy caterpillar (Ayepe-arenye). The youngest of seven children, she started singing at the age of four, and began her professional career in the late 1960s working with Chad Morgan in the Adelaide and Port Lincoln areas, and appeared on live TV music broadcasts, including shows hosted by Roger Cardwell, Johnny Mack and Ernie Sigley, and then becoming a regular on Channel Nine's Heather McKean & Reg Lindsey Show. In 1973, she moved to Sydney, and toured with Jimmy Little, performing at popular clubs and pubs around New South Wales.
In the 1970s, Andrew was a regular guest on The Johnny Mac Show, The Reg Lindsay Country Hour'' and The Ernie Sigley Show. Her first album Truck Driving Woman (1970) was the second by an Indigenous woman in Australia.
She performed at the Sydney Opera House for the venue's grand opening, and sang "Amazing Grace" in Pitjantjitjara for Pope John Paul II during his Australian tour. Auriel's well-known recordings include the country classic "Truck Drivin' Woman" and Bob Randell's "Brown Skin Baby". She performed at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Woodford Dreaming Festival, and regularly performed at various clubs around the Newcastle area.
She appeared in the SBS documentary Buried Country: The Story of Aboriginal Country Music (2000) about Aboriginal country music (associated with the book by Clinton Walker), singing "Truck Driving Woman".
Andrew appeared in the stage show Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word, written and performed by English artist Christopher Green at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival in 2007, and at the Beckett Theatre in Melbourne in 2011. She also appeared on several Australian television programs including episodes of A Country Practice, Blue Heelers, Playschool and the mini-series Heartland.
Her 2013 album Ghost Gums included new original songs about her life and childhood.
She has taught Aboriginal culture in classrooms for 20 years, passing on her knowledge in schools in Queensland, the Northern Territory and New South Wales, and in 2016 joined the cast of the stage adaptation of Clinton Walker's Buried Country, which made its premiere in her hometown of Newcastle on 20 August.
Awards and honours
At the Deadly Awards 2008, Auriel was presented a Lifetime Achievement Award for contribution to Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander music.
In 2011, she was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for her work as an entertainer and contribution to her communities through charity events.
- Truck Driving Woman (EP) (1970)
- Just For You (Nationwide, 1971)
- Chocolate Princess (Opal Records, 1982)
- Mbitjana (Imparja, 1985)
- Ghost Gums (2013)
- 1991 Tamworth Hands Of Fame
- 2005 NT Indigenous Music Awards: inducted into the hall of fame
- 2008 The Deadlys: Jimmy Little Lifetime Achievement Award for Contribution to Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Music
- Order of Australia Medal 2011 (Hunter Region) for contribution to art, music and education.
- Andrew, Auriel; Reuben Andrew (2008-06-19). "Music Australia - Auriel Andrew, Sarina Andrew and Reuben Andrew, folk musicians". Event occurs at 105 minutes. Retrieved 2008-10-11.
- "R.I.P. Auriel Andrew 1947-2017 - Noise11.com". www.noise11.com. Retrieved 2017-01-05.
- Lindy Kerin (Director) (2005-09-02). "Indigenous Music Awards". Stateline Northern Territory. Retrieved 2008-10-11.
- "Remembering Auriel Andrew: A woman as powerful as her voice". NITV. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
- "Tina C: Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word". The Sydney Morning Herald. 24 March 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
- "Australia Day Honours list | Australian Youth Music Council". aymc.org.au. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
- "Love of teaching and country music for Hunter OAM recipient". The Newcastle Star. 2 February 2011. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-08.
- "Auriel Andrew".
- "Deadlys 2008 Winners Announced!". Vibe News. 2008-10-08. Archived from the original on 17 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
- "People who make this region great honoured for service to community". The Newcastle Herald. 2011-01-28. Retrieved 2011-02-09.