CULTURAL ICON: Michael Tuahine plays Jimmy Little in the new musical Country Song at Lismore City Hall tonight, tomorrow and Saturday.
CULTURAL ICON: Michael Tuahine plays Jimmy Little in the new musical Country Song at Lismore City Hall tonight, tomorrow and Saturday. Marc Stapelberg

Pioneering indigenous musician Jimmy Little honoured in song

HE WAS the Aboriginal country singer outselling The Beatles and Elvis on the charts at a time before Australia's indigenous people had even been bestowed with citizenship.

Jimmy Little was a national icon and a new stage production opening at Lismore City Hall tonight outlines his life and times in vivid, musical detail.

The Queensland Theatre Company has brought their production to Lismore's NORPA following its run at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre.

Called Country Song, it features a fictionalised account of Little's life from his birth at an Aboriginal mission on the banks of the Murray River to becoming a musical star and a cultural icon.

Its musical style follows in the footsteps of hugely popular films such as Brand Nue Day and The Sapphires, with its writer and director connected to both projects.

"We cover 18 songs in two hours, and a storyline to boot," said lead actor Michael Tuahine, who plays Little and also came up with the idea for the play.

He said the lesson of Little's life was "make sure you know what your song is and don't let anyone sway you from your path".