Lou Bennett is an Indigenous Australian musician and actor. Bennett started her musical career with her uncle’s band “The Shades”, before later joining Richard Frankland’s band “Djaambi”, where she met Sally Dastey and Amy Saunders. Bennett, Dastey and Saunders later formed the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Award-winning band “Tiddas”.

Originally the three women, Amy Saunders (a Gunditjmara woman from Portland), Lou Bennett (a Yorta Yorta woman from Echuca) and Sally Dastey (from West Heidelberg) combined their vocal talents as backing singers for Aboriginal band Djaambi, led by Saunder’s brother Richard Frankland in 1990. The group were invited to perform at a musical celebration for women’s artistic achievement, ‘Hot Jam Cooking’, in Richmond, Victoria. Their performance was well received and inspired Ruby Hunter, Archie Roach’s partner, to dub the trio Tiddas, which is Koori English for the word sisters.

After Tiddas disbanded in 2000, Bennett performed with a new band called “Sweet Cheeks” and has worked as a stage actor. Her autobiographical show Show Us Your Tiddas! follows Bennett’s life as she recounts a series of stories that include the occasion when she revealed her sexuality to her family, her first live performance, moving into an urban environment and her time with Tiddas.

After performing together for over a year the band came to the attention of Paul Petran, host of ABC National Radio show ‘Music Deli’, who assisted Tiddas to record their debut EP. Their first album Inside My Kitchen was released in October, 1992 and received two nominations, for ‘Best New Talent’ and ‘Best Indigenous Talent’, at the 1993 Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) Awards.

Their second album was called ‘Tiddas’, and was produced by Joe Camilleri. This album was released in Australia in August 1996. Tiddas reached No. 26 on the ARIA charts and was nominated for ‘Best Indigenous Release’ at the 1996 ARIA awards.

The third album, Lethal By The Kilo, was recorded in Melbourne’s ABC studios in late 1998. The album received almost no promotion from the record company, which led to the band almost breaking up. In May 2000 Tiddas did break up, spending months on a national tour to say farewell to all their fans. In 2000 Tiddas were awarded a Deadly Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Aboriginal Music’.

Bennett is also artistic director, composer, vocal supervisor and performer of The Black Arm Band* project. The Black Arm Band is a collection of some of Australia’s premier Indigenous musicians. The band, conceived by Artistic Director Steven Richardson, was originally brought together “to perform, promote and celebrate contemporary Australian Indigenous music”.

Members come from all over the country and have diverse musical backgrounds. The band’s name comes from a speech by former Australian Prime Minister John Howard who referred to a “black armband view of history”.

Bennett also contributed vocals to the 2012 Australian film The Sapphires, following her involvement with the 2004 Melbourne stage production.