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BIGSOUND is done and dusted for another year, but we leave feeling more energised than ever about the future of Aussie music. The 2019 program saw record crowds enjoying some of the hottest new acts on the live music scene, including Buzz Band of the Week and newly announced Levi’s® Music Prize winner – Gordon Koang.

Gordon Koang is a household name in South Sudan, and an incredible performer with nine albums under his belt. Gordon’s story is inspirational – as a blind man currently seeking asylum in Australia, he makes music with the goal of spreading a message of peace, love and unity. Represented by Music In Exile, this award not only highlights Gordon’s talent, but the excellent work of this not-for-profit initiative which aims to provide a platform for refugee and asylum seeking artists working in culturally or linguistically diverse communities in Australia.

Having been selected by a panel of industry heavyweights from a pool of around 150 bands who showcased throughout the week, this in a huge coup for Gordon. He takes home $25,000 plus an additional $5000 travel voucher courtesy of Stage & Screen Australia. We hope this money can assist Gordon in achieving his dreams – whether that be through providing funding towards recording, touring equipment, video production and more.

“I am standing before you as a blind person. I cannot see anything in this world but I put my mind to do music. I have been playing my instrument for 31 years and came to Australia in 2014 to seek asylum because Sudan has a war. God has blessed us by bringing our permanent residency and now we are here accepting this award at the BIGSOUND festival. Thank you BIGSOUND, thank you Levi’s®, God bless Australia and God bless Brisbane.” – Gordon Koang

A further three prizes will be awarded to artists across the coming twelve months. Previous winners include Ecca Vandal, The Teskey Brothers, Amyl & the Sniffers, Stella Donnelly and more.

Levi’s® Music Prize applications are now open for Round 2. Australian and New Zealand acts who have performed at BIGSOUND within the last five years (2015-2019) are eligible to apply here. Applications close Dec 7.


Photography by Claudia Ciapocha


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