Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu

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Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu
Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu in Nov 2012.jpg
Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu in November 2012
Background information
Born 1970
Galiwin'ku (Elcho Island), Australia
Genres Folk
Occupations Musician
Years active 1986–present
Labels Skinnyfish Music
Associated acts Yothu Yindi
Saltwater Band
Website www.gurrumul.com

Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu (born 1970) is an Indigenous Australian musician, who sings in the Yolngu language.

He was born in Galiwin'ku (Elcho Island), off the coast of Arnhem Land, Northern Australia about 580 kilometres from Darwin. He is from the Gumatj clan of the Yolngu and his mother is from the Galpu nation.[1] He was born blind, has never learned Braille and does not have a guide dog or use a white cane. Yunupingu speaks only a few words of English, and is said to be acutely shy.[2]

He plays drums, keyboards, guitar (a right hand-strung guitar left-handed) and didgeridoo, but it is the clarity of his singing voice that has attracted rave reviews. He sings stories of his land in both languages (Gälpu, Gumatj or Djambarrpuynu, all Yolŋu Matha) and English.[3] Formerly with Yothu Yindi, he is now with Saltwater Band.

Career history[edit]

In 2008 Yunupingu was nominated for four ARIA awards,[4] winning the awards for Best World Music Album[5] and Best Independent Release.[6] He also won three Deadlys, winning for Artist of the Year, Album of the Year for Gurrumul and Single of the Year for "Gurrumul History (I Was Born Blind)".[7]

His first solo album, Gurrumul, debuted at No. 21 on the ARIA Charts and No. 1 on the independent chart.[8] Gurrumul peaked at No. 3 on the ARIA Charts.[9] Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu's friend Michael Hohnen produced the album and acts as his translator. Critics have heaped praise on the singer, describing his voice as having "transcendental beauty". Elton John, Sting and Björk are among his fans. When asked what he would do with any money he makes, he suggested it will go to his mother and aunts, following the Aboriginal tradition of sharing wealth.[2]

In November 2009, he was named 'Best New Independent Artist', and his album, Gurrumul, 'Best Independent Release' and 'Best Independent Blues/Roots Release' at the Jägermeister Australian Independent Record (AIR) Awards held at Melbourne's Corner Hotel.[10] In January 2009, his song, "Gurrumul History (I Was Born Blind)", was featured on the British TV Show, Skins.

On New Year's Eve 2008, Yunupingu performed on Sydney New Year's Eve 2008–09 with his song "Bäpa". He is the 2009 Northern Territory recipient of Australian of the Year and he performed "Bäpa" at the ceremony.

In 2009 a portrait of Gurrumul by Guy Maestri won Australia's major art prize, The Archibald Prize.[11]

Gurrumul playing at the West Coast Blues & Roots Festival (2011)

He was again awarded the Jägermeister Australian Independent Record (AIR) Award for 'Best Independent Blues and Roots Album' in 2011 for his album RRAKALA.[12]

In 2012 Gurrumul was one of the contributing vocalists on Gary Barlow's commemorative single 'Sing' for Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee celebrations, which features artists from across the Commonwealth. He performed 'Sing' live at the Diamond Jubilee Concert on Monday 4 June 2012 together with many of the song's contributing artists.[13]

In 2013, Gurrumul joined Delta Goodrem for a special performance of Bayini on The Voice Australia.[14]

Yolngu are deep thinking philosophical people. The words in the song refer to many families sitting together on the beach looking to waves and sea, the horizon, contemplating.[15]

This performance was in celebration of National Reconciliation Week. The single was released on 31 May and debuted at #4 on the ARIA singles charts. [16]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Live albums[edit]

  • Live In Darwin, Australia (2010)
  • Gurrumul & The Sydney Symphony Orchestra – His Life And Music (2013) #48 ARIA chart[18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ OzArts[dead link] Gurrumul
  2. ^ a b Aboriginal singer beats poverty and prejudice to top Australian charts Barbara McMahon, The Guardian, 17 July 2008. Accessed July 2008
  3. ^ dB Magazine[dead link] Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunipingu
  4. ^ Aria Awards[dead link]
  5. ^ SBS news[dead link] Arnhem Land's Gurrumul wins ARIA award
  6. ^ News.com.au 2008 Aria Award Winners
  7. ^ Northern Territory News[dead link] Gurrumul Deadly at Awards
  8. ^ National Indigenous Times – Issue 156[dead link] Gurrumul CDs to tap into UK
  9. ^ The ARIA Report issue 1021
  10. ^ "Yunupingu Wins AIR Awards Triple". Billboard.biz. 25 November 2008. Retrieved 26 November 2008. 
  11. ^ "Archibald Prize 09". Art Gallery of New South Wales. 8 February 2010. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  12. ^ Australian Independent Record Labels Association Ltd (AIR), 2012
  13. ^ "The Diamond Jubilee Official". 4 June 2012. 
  14. ^ McCabe, Kathy (27 May 2013). "Delta to sing Gurrumul's indigenous anthem Bayini on The Voice tonight". Herald Sun. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  15. ^ Ferreira, Nuno Saque (10 May 2012). "Gurrumul featuring Sarah Blasko – Bayini – UK single release July 2nd". #AltSounds. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  16. ^ https://itunes.apple.com/au/album/bayini-live-single/id656511486
  17. ^ http://australian-charts.com/search.asp?cat=a&search=Gurrumul
  18. ^ http://www.ariacharts.com.au/chart/albums

External links[edit]