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Nakama Arts is a new organisation that seeks to assist young creatives who might otherwise not have opportunity. It is already working with a very diverse group and helping them develop their musical talent and navigate through the music business.
“Nakama is a Japanese word that refers to a friend or teammate who collaborates, shares ideas, and helps, and that’s exactly what we’re trying to do,” explains Chris Hamer-Smith, who heads the project. “Typically, we are assisting kids with some level of disability or challenged family or community backgrounds and we’ll be helping them find their feet in music creation and then developing that talent through recording and releasing their music.”
Chris is no stranger to the music industry or social projects. For over fifteen years he’s worked as a producer, recording artist, DJ and youth mentor. He’s produced two ARIA nominated albums and has recorded, mixed and remixed numerous acts from around the globe. In addition, he has also been heavily involved in community-based projects, working extensively in facilitating and mentoring youth music programs.
Fully funded by distributor Technical Audio Group, Nakama Arts consolidates under one banner the social projects Chris was personally undertaking, other ‘TAG Cares’ projects, and outreach to other community organisations.
For example, a chance request in early February led Chris and local artist Lorenz Prichard aka P.Smurf to assist a young rapper suffering deep anxiety issues. “By assisting him to develop his musical talent we’ve been able to help him find new confidence and purpose,” illustrates Chris. “He’s got some real talent! We started with online sessions but now he’s opening up and confident to travel to record in the studio.”
Chris also remixed several of the Musgrave Band tracks that TAG Cares previously recorded in the South Australian APY Lands. “We added a collab with a local Sydney rapper,” continues Chris. “The band were super excited about it and a five track EP has now been released and is already playing on Triple J and 2SER! It’s an entrée to us revisiting Amata to record more music and open doors to facilitate music collabs with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander musicians back here on the East Coast.”
“Over the years we’ve undertaken a number of TAG Cares community projects,” says TAG’s Director Maxwell Twartz. “It’s a really important piece of who we are and what we want to contribute as a company. We’ve worked with Chris on a couple of those projects and we’ve seen how he’s changed the lives of marginalised kids in wonderfully positive ways. Now with Chris heading up Nakama Arts, TAG is able to provide a platform for more moments like those and that’s a very humbling and rewarding experience for us as a company.”
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