A dream has come true for one Hobart musician after winning the University of Tasmania's 2021 Ossa Music Prize.
Singer-songwriter guitarist Karai will travel across Tasmania to perform free concerts after winning the prize - which also comes with $2,500 for musical equipment or tuition.
The concert, titled Rivets & Ribbons, was named after one of the musician's tracks written during a tutorial with singer-songwriter Monique Brumby.
"Rivets & Ribbons is a metaphor for life; the peaks and troughs, heartaches and triumphs," he said.
Karai grew up listening to his family's collection of music which included 1950s crooners, African-American blues, and soul from the 1960s and 70s.
He has toured with Prinnie and Mahalia, Chet Faker, Ngaiire, Sampa the Great, Okenyo, New Venusians, and Sex on Toast, and performed alongside Ngaiire supporting Leon Bridges and the Black Seeds.
"I hope people feel a connection to the songs and find their own interpretations and meanings," he said.
"Look into the lyrics of the songs and a lot of the lyrics speak on the state of the world and social injustices ... there's a lot of social commentary in my songs."
Karai said he was excited to not only bring live music to people in areas who may otherwise not get to see much of it, but to also visit schools as part of the tour.
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"It's really appealing to me to visit these towns and in some cases to connect with people who may not get to see a lot of original live music," he said.
"I'm looking forward to playing for students, asking and answering their questions, and getting a sense of where they are at with their music. It would be awesome if I also got to hear some of their music."
UTAS head of music Dr Arabella Teniswood-Harvey said Karai's musical skill was matched by thoughtful and poetic lyrical content.
"The funded tour provides invaluable performance opportunities through which Karai will learn to adapt ... and have the opportunity to refine and reimagine his program," she said.
Karai will perform in Launceston on September 22 at Scotch Oakburn College. Tickets are available at ossa-prize.eventbrite.com.au.
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