The four winners at the inaugural Australian Record Industry Assn's (ARIA) Fine Arts awards, held October 12 in Sydney, were from disparate backgrounds.

The four winners at the inaugural Australian Record Industry Assn's (ARIA) Fine Arts Awards, held October 12 in Sydney, were from disparate backgrounds.

Henry Gibson Dan (Seaman Dan), a 75-year old pearl diver from North Queensland, won best world music album for "Perfect Pearl" (Didgeridoo/Hot), a mix of island hula, blues, jazz and Polynesian rhythms. Accountant-turned-bass baritone opera singer Teddy Tahu Rhodes collected best classical album for "The Voice" (ABC Classics). The Necks' "Drive By" (Fish Of Milk/Shock) which consists of one 60-minute-long track, got best jazz album. Producer and composer David Bridie's "Nautical Forlorn" (EMI) won best original soundtrack/cast/show recording.

New South Wales state premier Bob Carr presented the ceremony, which was held at Governor House. ARIA Awards committee chairman Ed St John commented: "Today's ARIA winners are incredible musician. It's great to see a new platform that recognizes the talents of them and their fellow nominees."

ARIA launched the fine arts gala this year because it was felt that the classical, jazz, soundtrack and world music genres were too often overshadowed by mainstream music. Excerpts from the event will be included in Ten Network's free-to-air telecast of the ARIA Awards, which will be held at the Sydney SuperDome this Sunday (Oct. 17).

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