Issue 9 - 1 October 2012 enews home

Desert Diva finds way on to big stage

By Patrick Nelson

Rita Tomlins performs at the Alice Desert Festival. Photo by Steve Pearce, courtesy of the Alice Desert Festival

One of CDU's best-kept secrets is a secret no more.

Until recently, few knew of the musical talents of the quietly spoken Rita Tomlins, a customer service officer in the Business Central team at Alice Springs campus.

But in the past month Rita has performed to a live audience at the Alice Springs Desert Festival and appeared on national television. And by the end of the month one of her songs will have been featured on the debut album of Central Australia musicians, the Desert Divas.

"It's really exciting to be able to tell your story through music," Rita said.

"I've been singing ever since I can remember but things really started to happen when I joined the Desert Divas last year."

Rita said the Desert Divas, an initiative of Music NT, provided Indigenous female musicians from Central Australia and the Barkly with opportunities to sing, write and perform.

"I joined because I wanted to build confidence. They encourage young Aboriginal women to come out of their shells and sing and write music."

The 20-member group's about-to-be-released first album contains a song written by Rita when she was 15.

"It's called 'Weather' and it's a song about feelings. I wrote it while I was living in a caravan in Bundaberg."

Rita also recently sang in a soon-to-be-aired episode of "I will Survive: Priscilla", Network Ten's nationwide talent search for the next singing-dancing-acting superstar.

She sang a shortened version of the 1960s classic "River Deep Mountain High" in a duet with Tom, one of 12 contestants in the winner-takes-all contest.

"It was a privilege to be a part of something that's going to be on TV. It was an awesome experience and was all over too quickly."