Mandawuy Yunupingu

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Mandawuy Djarrtjuntjun Yunupingu
A 44-year-old man is standing upon a stage. He wears light blue jeans, a black unbuttoned jacket, a yellow shirt and a head band. He holds a portable microphone in his left hand at his side and is staring ahead. Behind him is band equipment or a screen lit up in a green display.
Performing with Yothu Yindi at the opening ceremony, 2000 Paralympics, October, Sydney
Background information
Native name Gudjuk
Birth name Tom Djambayang Bakamana Yunupingu
Born (1956-09-17)17 September 1956
Yirrkala, Northern Territory, Australia
Died 2 June 2013(2013-06-02) (aged 56)
Yirrkala, Northern Territory, Australia
Genres Aboriginal rock
Occupation(s) Musician, school principal
Instruments Guitar, vocals
Years active 1985–2013

Mandawuy Djarrtjuntjun Yunupingu (formerly Tom Djambayang Bakamana Yunupingu, skin name Gudjuk), AC, (17 September 1956 – 2 June 2013) was an Aboriginal Australian musician and educator. From 1986 he was the front man of the Aboriginal rock group Yothu Yindi as a singer-songwriter and guitarist. In 1989 he became assistant principal of the Yirrkala Community School – his former school – and was principal for the following two years. He helped establish the Yolngu Action Group and introduced the Both Ways system, which recognised traditional Aboriginal teaching alongside Western methods. Yothu Yindi released six albums, Homeland Movement (March 1989), Tribal Voice (October 1991), Freedom (November 1993), Birrkuta - Wild Honey (November 1996), One Blood (June 1999), Garma (November 2000). The group's top 20 ARIA Singles Chart appearances were "Treaty" (1991) and "Djäpana (Sunset Dreaming)" (1992). He was appointed Australian of the Year for 1992 by the National Australia Day Council. In April 1998 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Queensland University of Technology. In December 2012 Yothu Yindi were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame. In 2007 he was diagnosed with advanced renal failure and died in 2013, aged 56.

Early life[edit]

Yunupingu was born as Tom Djambayang Bakamana Yunupingu on 17 September 1956 in Yirrkala in Arnhem Land, an Aboriginal reserve in the northeastern part of the Northern Territory.[1][2] He was a member of the Gumatj people, one of sixteen groups of the Yolngu people.[3] His skin name was Gudjuk, but his name was changed to Mandawuy when a family member with the same name died, in line with Yolngu custom. He described his names as "Mandawuy" means 'from clay'; Djarrtjuntjun means 'roots of the paperbark tree that still burn and throw off heat after a fire has died down'; Yunupingu depicts a solid rock that, having travelled from freshwater, stands in salty waters, its base deep in the earth. I am Gudjuk the fire kite".[3]

His father was Munggurrawuy Yunupingu (c. 1907–1978), a Gumatj clan leader and artist.[4] His mother, Makurrngu – one of Munggurrawuy's 12 wives – was a member of the Galpu clan.[5][6] His oldest sister, Gulumbu Yunupingu (1945 – 9 May 2012), was also an artist and healer.[4][5] His other sisters are Nyapanyapa and Barrupu, who are also artists.[4] His older brother, Galarrwuy Yunupingu (born 30 June 1948), is a senior elder of Arnhem Land, who was Australian of the Year in 1978, and was an indigenous land rights campaigner.[4][5] Yunupingu attended Yirrkala Community School.

Early career[edit]

In 1983, Yunupingu published "Outstation Schools at Yirrkala" in Aboriginal Child at School, where he described the advantages to indigenous people by "[determining] their own way of living, provided, they manage budgeting through Isolated Children's Allowance, staffing their schools, developing curriculum, and teacher training".[7] In March 1987 he contributed to the book, Educational needs of the Homelands Centres of the L̲aynhapuy Region, North East Arnhem Land : report of the Balanga ̲na Project : a Schools Commission Project of national significance.[8]

He was the first Aboriginal person from Arnhem Land to gain a university degree, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in education from Deakin University in 1988. In 1989 he became assistant principal of the Yirrkala Community School. He helped establish the Yolngu Action Group and introduced the Both Ways system at his school, which recognised traditional Aboriginal teaching alongside Western methods.[9][10] In 1990 he took over as principal of Yirrkala Community School.[11] Also that year he authored "Language and power : the Yolngu rise to power at Yirrkala School", detailing his work with Yolngu Action Group.[9] He remained principal until late 1991, leaving to expand his musical career.[12]

Yothu Yindi[edit]

By 1985 with Yunupingu on vocals and guitar, he formed a Yolngu band including Witiyana Marika on manikay (traditional vocals), bilma (ironwood clapsticks) and dance, Milkayngu Mununggurr on yidaki (didgeridoo), and Gurrumul Yunupingu – his nephew – on keyboards, guitar and percussion.[13][14][15] The following year the Yolngu group combined with a balanda (non-indigenous) group, Swamp Jockeys, which had Andrew Belletty on drums, Stuart Kellaway on bass guitar and Cal Williams on lead guitar.[13][14][15] The new collective, Yothu Yindi, performed Aboriginal rock which fused traditional indigenous music and dance with Western popular music.[13][15] yothu yindi means "child and mother" and refers to the kinship of north-east Arnhem Land.[13][15]

In the group's early years their performing was restricted to holidays as Yunupingu completed his tertiary studies and then started work as a teacher.[13][15] By 1988 Yothu Yindi had toured Australia and North America supporting Midnight Oil.[13][15] Late that year they recorded their debut studio album, Homeland Movement, which appeared in March the following year.[13][15] Australian musicologist, Ed Nimmervoll, described it "[o]ne side comprised Midnight Oil-like politicized rock. The other side of the album concentrated on traditionally based songs like 'Djapana' (Sunset Dreaming), written by former teacher Mandawuy Yunupingu".[15] He was credited on the album as Mandawuy Bakamana Yunupingu and provided vocals, guitar and bilma.[13][14][16]

The band achieved national recognition for their single, "Treaty", the remixed version was released in June 1991, which reached No. 11 on the ARIA Singles Chart and stayed in the top 50 for 20 weeks.[17] Mandawuy and Galarrwuy had wanted a song to highlight the lack of progress on a treaty between Aboriginal peoples and the federal government.[18] The song contains words in Gumatj, Yunupingu's variety of Yolngu matha. It was written by Australian musician, Paul Kelly, with Yothu Yindi members Yunupingu, Kellaway, Williams, Gurrumul, Mununggurr and Marika.[19][20] The associated album, Tribal Voice appeared in October 1991, which peaked at No. 4 on the ARIA Albums Chart.[13][17] A re-recorded version of "Djäpana (Sunset Dreaming)" was issued as the second single from the album and reached No. 13.[13][17]

Yunupingu's work on Tribal Voice was described by Allmusic's Jonathan Lewis, "[his] voice is suited perfectly to [traditional songs], but it is the rock tracks that are the weak links in this disc. Yunupingu is not a particularly good pop singer, and the music is sometimes insipid".[21] Nevertheless both "Treaty" in 1992 and "Djäpana (Sunset Dreaming)" in 1993 charted on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play singles charts, with "Treaty" peaking at No. 6,[22] Tribal Voice peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Top World Music Albums chart in 1992.[23] In 1991 "Treaty", co-written by Yunupingu, won the inaugural Song of the Year Award at the APRA Music Awards presented by Australasian Performing Right Association.[24] In May 2001 it was listed in the APRA Top 30 Australian songs of all time.[19][25]

Yothu Yindi completed four more studio albums, Freedom (November 1993), Birrkuta - Wild Honey (November 1996), One Blood (June 1999) and Garma (November 2000).[13][15] They toured Australia, North America, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Papua New Guinea and Hong Kong.[10][13][15] Yunupingu strove to achieve a better understanding of Aboriginal culture by balanda and was a prominent advocate of reconciliation between all Australians.[26] Yunupingu and the band established the Yothu Yindi Foundation in 1990 and since 1999 promoted the annual Garma Festival.[26][27] From May 2007 the foundation has supported the Dilthan Yolngunha (Healing Place) using traditional healing practices and mainstream medicines.[28][29]

Personal life[edit]

Yunupingu was married to a fellow teacher, Gatjilayngu Maymuru (Yalmay) of the Rirritjingu clan.[5] He is survived by his five daughters and five grandsons.[6][26] One of his grandsons, Rrawun Maymuru, is lead singer of East Journey.[30] In May 2013 the National Indigenous Music Awards announced that Yothu Yindi were to be honoured at their awards ceremony in August, Maymuru was to be backed by original band members.[30] Yunupingu declared "My heart is full of joy. I am so happy to see that in my lifetime Indigenous music has come such a long way. And to have these talented artists come together to honour the groundbreaking work of Yothu Yindi makes me proud beyond words. Yo Manymak."[30]

His nephew Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu played in Yothu Yindi. Gurrumul later formed the Saltwater Band and also has a solo career.[13][15][26] Other members of the extended Yunupingu family have also performed in Yothu Yindi: Galarrwuy (guitars and vocals); Mangatjay (dance); Yomunu; Gapanbulu (yidaki); Gavin Makuma (yidaki, bilma, vocals); Malngay Kevin (yidaki, bilma, dancer, vocals); and Narripapa Nicky (yidaki, dancer).[13][14][15] His nephew, Gavin Makuma Yunupingu, was jailed in 2002 over the death of Betsy Yunupingu, his cousin.[31][32] Another nephew, Nicky Yunupingu, committed suicide in July 2008.[31][33]

Health[edit]

Yunupingu was diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure, which in turn contributed to advanced renal failure, for which he received haemodialysis three times a week in Darwin.[31] His condition was announced in 2007 following his attendance in January at a rehabilitation clinic after years of beer drinking – between one and four cartons daily, according to his treating psychiatrist.[12][31][34] By December 2008 he was resigned to the fact that he may die without having seen the longed-for settlement between white and black Australia:

I'm still waiting for that treaty to come along, for my grandsons, ... Even if it's not there in the days that I am living, it might come in the days that I am not living. I know a treaty will change things, my grandsons will have a different view, a much more positive view, a luckier view. Luckier in that they feel part of Australia, you know

—Mandawuy Yunupingu, 6 December 2008, The Australian.[6]

By October 2009 he was on a kidney transplant waiting list.[31] He also undertook traditional healing practices. His sister Gulumbu was one of a group of senior Yolngu women who had helped set up Dilthan Yolngunha – a healing place – with the support of the Yothu Yindi Foundation.[34] Yunupingu was one of its first patients.[6][34]

Death[edit]

Yunupingu died at his home in the Northern Territory on 2 June 2013, aged 56.[11][35] After his death the Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, said: "We have today lost a great Australian voice in the efforts towards reconciliation."[11][31]

Awards[edit]

On 26 January 1993 Yunupingu was named Australian of the Year for 1992 by the National Australia Day Council.[21][36] In April 1998 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Queensland University of Technology, "in recognition of his significant contribution to the education of Aboriginal children, and to greater understanding between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians".[2] Yothu Yindi were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in December 2012, with Peter Garrett (former member of Midnight Oil) and Paul Kelly introducing the group.[37][38][39] On 1 January 2001, Yunupingu awarded the Centenary Medal for service to Australian society through music.[40]

In the 2014 Australia Day Honours, Yunupingu was posthumously invested as a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), for eminent service to the performing arts as a musician and songwriter, to the advancement of education and social justice for Indigenous people, and as an advocate for cultural exchange and understanding.[41]

Bibliography[edit]

References[edit]

General
Specific
  1. ^ Gibson, Mark (1 September 2010). "This Month in Australian Music – September". Australian Music History. Archived from the original on 19 April 2011. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Yunupingu Broke Indigenous Barriers". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). Australian Associated Press (AAP). 3 June 2013. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Yunupingu, Manduwuy. "Mandawuy Yunupingu on Aboriginality and Culture". Yothu Yindi Official Website. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d Eccles, Jeremy (13 June 2012). "Artist Saw the Stars Crying". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d Yunupingu, Galarrwuy (December 2008). "Tradition, Truth & Tomorrow". The Monthly (41). Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d Robinson, Natasha (6 December 2008). "Songline Fades for 'Treaty' Man Mandawuy Yunupingu". The Australian (News Limited (News Corporation)). Archived from the original on 5 June 2013. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  7. ^ Yunupingu, Bakamana (August–September 1983), "Outstation Schools at Yirrkala", Aboriginal Child at School 11 (4): 54–58, ISSN 0310-5822, The article discusses the development of outstation schools at Yirrkala which are of advantage to Aboriginal people as they can determine their own way of living, provided, they manage budgeting through Isolated Children's Allowance, staffing their schools, developing curriculum, and teacher training .
  8. ^ Mununggurr, Daymbalipu; Kemmis, Stephen; Wunungmurra, Wali; Yunupingu, Bakamana; Watson, Helen; Commonwealth Schools Commission (Australia). Projects of National Significance Program; Laynhapuy Association (March 1987), Educational needs of the Homelands Centres of the L̲aynhapuy Region, North East Arnhem Land : report of the Balanga ̲na Project : a Schools Commission Project of national significance, Laynhapuy Association, retrieved 5 June 2013 
  9. ^ a b Yunupingu, Bakamana (1990). "Language and power : the Yolngu rise to power at Yirrkala School". In Walton, Christine; Eggington, William. Cross-Cultural Issues in Educational Linguistics Conference (1987; Batchelor College, N.T.) Language; maintenance, power and education in Australian Aboriginal contexts. Darwin: NTU Press. pp. 3–6. Retrieved 5 June 2013. Decisions on school matters made by Yolngu Action Group, who have control over both ways curriculum for both Yolngu and European culture .
  10. ^ a b "Mandawuy Yunupingu, Australian Musician and educator, Dies at 56". The New York Times. Australian Associated Press (AAP). 4 June 2013. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  11. ^ a b c Zuel, Bernard; Levy, Megan (3 June 2013). "Yothu Yindi singer dies after disease battle". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  12. ^ a b "Message from Mandawuy". Australian Story. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). 19 October 2009. Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'Yothu Yindi'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86448-768-2. Archived from the original on 30 September 2004. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  14. ^ a b c d Holmgren, Magnus; Warqvist, Stefan. "Yothu Yindi". Australian Rock Database. Passagen (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 27 September 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Nimmervoll, Ed. "Yothu Yindi". HowlSpace. White Room Electronic Publishing Pty Ltd. Archived from the original on 17 February 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  16. ^ "'Djapana' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  17. ^ a b c Hung, Steffen. "Yothu Yindi – 'Treaty'". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung). Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  18. ^ Negus, George (8 July 2004). "George Negus Tonight Profiles – Transcripts – Mandawuy Yunupingu". Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  19. ^ a b "APRA 2001 Top 30 Songs". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). 2 May 2001. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  20. ^ "ACE Title Search". American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). Retrieved 5 June 2013.  Note: User may be required to search for title, e.g. Treaty.
  21. ^ a b Lewis, Jonathan. "Tribal Voice – Yothu Yindi". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 28 May 2013. 
  22. ^ "Yothu Yindi – Charts & Awards – Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  23. ^ "Yothu Yindi – Charts & Awards – Billboard Albums". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  24. ^ "APRA|AMCOS 1991 Winners". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). 1991. Retrieved 7 June 2013. Writers: Bakamana Yunipingu [sic]/Stuart Kellaway/Gurrumul Yunipingu [sic]/Milkayggu Mununggurr/Cal Williams/Paul Kelly 
  25. ^ Kruger, Debbie (2 May 2001). "The songs that resonate through the years" (PDF). Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 7 June 2013. 
  26. ^ a b c d "Yothu Yindi legend dies". NT News (News Limited (News Corporation)). 3 June 2013. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  27. ^ Carruthers, Fiona (18 December 2002). "Australia's Yolngu People: Celebrating 40,000 Years". DW Radio. Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  28. ^ "Yothu Yindi Foundation". garma.telstra.com. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  29. ^ "Yothu Yindi Foundation". The Healing Place Dilthan Yolngunha. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  30. ^ a b c "Sounds of Yothu Yindi for National Indigenous Music Awards 2013". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). 28 May 2013. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  31. ^ a b c d e f "Drink puts Yothu Yindi star Mandawuy Yunupingu on the brink". The Sunday Telegraph (News Limited (News Corporation)). 18 October 2009. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  32. ^ "Yunupingu's son jailed for killing". The Age (Fairfax Media). Australian Associated Press (AAP). 24 June 2002. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  33. ^ "Nicky Yunupingu found dead after stabbing incident". The Courier-Mail (News Limited). Australian Associated Press (AAP). 30 July 2008. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  34. ^ a b c Hutchison, Tracee (13 August 2007). "Tears of crocodile man fall in grief for his people". The Age (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  35. ^ "Yothu Yindi frontman Yunupingu dies aged 56". ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)). 6 June 2013. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  36. ^ "Australian of the Year 1992 – Mandawuy Yunupingu". Australian of the Year. National Australia Day Council. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  37. ^ "ARIA Icons, Hall of Fame". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  38. ^ McCabe, Kathy (26 October 2012). "Yothu Yindi to be inducted into ARIA Hall of Fame". News Limited (News Corporation). Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  39. ^ Middleton, Alison (30 November 2012). "Yothu Yindi Inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame". ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)). Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  40. ^ "Wurrthunbuy Kevin Yunupingu". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  41. ^ "Companion (AC) in the general division of the Order of Australia at the 2014 Australia Day honours" (pdf). Official Secretary to the Governor-General of Australia. 26 January 2014. p. 7. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  42. ^ "Bewiyik ga ngän̲uk / Bakamanawungu; [illustrated by] Djokiwungu". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  43. ^ "Stories from Yirrkala / in Gumatji". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  44. ^ "Educational needs of the Homelands Centres of the L̲aynhapuy Region, North East Arnhem Land: report of the Balanga ̲na Project: a Schools Commission Project of national significance / by Daymbalipu Mununggurr, Bakamana Yunipingu [sic], Wäli Wunungmurra (special consultant); with the assistance of Helen Watson and Stephen Kemmis". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  45. ^ "'Language and power : the Yolngu rise to power at Yirrkala School' / Mandawuy (Bakamana) Yunupingu". Cross-Cultural Issues in Educational Linguistics Conference. National Library of Australia. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  46. ^ "Education for a sustainable society: papers presented at the 31st National Conference of the Australian College of Education, Canberra, 1991". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 6 June 2013. For details of papers see entries under authors: F Christie; C Collins; B Dwyer; J Hunt; I Lowe; S Ryan; J Sobski; N Stephen; M-R Ungunmerr-Baumann; M Yunupingu .
  47. ^ "Conned! / Eve Mumewa D. Fesl". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 6 June 2013. Appendices; lists of missions and reserves, note on linguistic skills of Lutheran missionaries, comparison with North American situation, statement on language and power by Munduwuy (Mandawuy) Bakamana Yunupingu and national language policy papers .
  48. ^ "Voices from the land / Mandawuy Yunupingu...[et al.]". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  49. ^ "National review of education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples : statistical annex / Department of Employment, Education and Training". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 6 June 2013. Chair of the National Reference Group: Mandawuy Yunupingu .
  50. ^ "Yothu Yindi – finding balance / Mandawuy Yunupingu". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 6 June 2013. Describes the philosophy of the band Yothu Yindi and the concept of dynamic balance or harmony the words Yothu Yindi represent; describes how the Yolngu kinship system links people; discusses his own education and explains how the concepts of ngathu (a sacred bread made from flour of cycad palm nuts) and ganma have inspired the development of a Yolngu curriculum; argues that non-Aboriginal people need to make an effort to understand the logic of Aboriginal knowledge .
  51. ^ "Wild light : images of Australia / [photographs by] Philip Quirk...[et al.]; text by Mandawuy Yunupingu". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 6 June 2013. Previously published as: Wild light. Port Melbourne: William Heinemann Australia, 1995 .
  52. ^ "Double power: English literacy and indigenous education". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  53. ^ "'A balance in knowledge: respecting difference' / Mandawuy Yunupingu". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 6 June 2013. Mandawuy Yunupingu discusses his philosophy of life firmly rooted in his Yolngu heritage; aims to incorporate Yolngu knowledge systems into he Australian academic system; need to respect and value the Yolngu curriculum .
  54. ^ "Reflections & voices: exploring the music of Yothu Yindi with Mandawuy Yunupingu / Aaron Corn with contributions by Marcia Langton ... [et al.]". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 6 June 2013. In the early 1990s, the Australian band Yothu Yindi rose to national prominence with hit songs like 'Treaty' and 'Djpana' that would become part of Australia's cultural fabric. Aaron Corn takes us on a journey with Mandawuy Yunupinu through the ideas and events behind some of Yothu Yindi's best known songs .

External links[edit]