Gurrumul: Rrakala (Skinnyfish)

 |   |  <1 min read

Gurrumul: Warwu
Gurrumul: Rrakala (Skinnyfish)

With his full name on his debut album Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu reduced to more manageable Gurrumul, this blind Aboriginal singer-songwriter (a former member of Yothu Yindi and the Saltwater Band) here continues his way into global domination in the world music/folk genre.

Unlike many Aboriginal performers who use traditional instruments or deliver bog-standard reggae, the award-winning Gurrumul is an accomplished acoustic guitarist (and passable pianist) who sings yearning stories of historical hurts, the land, animal spirits and of ancient lore passed down the generations.

But it is his sublimely melodic voice – high, confident but sometimes close to a weeping tone – which carries these lovely songs sung in Gumatj and other indigenous languages (the beautifully packaged disc includes translations).

Djilawurr links the cries of birds and that of his grandmother in a soulful ballad; the engrossing, eight minute piano ballad Warwu is heart-stoppingly spare; and Bakitju with its assimilation of a chant-sing into a meditation on his ancestral home has an almost holy quality.

So although these songs are traditional in their concerns and language, they bridge folk, world music and pop effortlessly on an album which – although the overall mood is reflective and often melancholy – sounds like a cultural and personal affirmation set to delightful melodies.

The full Gurrumul story is told here

Like the sound of this? Then you might be interested in this.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Guy Clark: Songs and Stories (Dualtone)

Guy Clark: Songs and Stories (Dualtone)

Although the smart money would have been against his longevity, here is the road-worn troubadour Guy Clark -- 70 in November 2011 -- working his way through exactly what it says on the box, singing... > Read more

Toni Childs: Keep the Faith (MGM)

Toni Childs: Keep the Faith (MGM)

I didn't know this until recently, but apparently Toni Childs - who appeared with her impressive debut album Union 20 years ago - was really only big in Australia and New Zealand (she had half a... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE AUCKLAND FESTIVAL OF PHOTOGRAPHY (2015): LIfe in the lens

THE AUCKLAND FESTIVAL OF PHOTOGRAPHY (2015): LIfe in the lens

The annual festival of photography which opens in Auckland today at various locations, is more than just a showcase of the work by many and diverse photographers but also offers the viewer an... > Read more

THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND, THIS LAND IS . . . (2011): New Zealand in the eye of the beholder

THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND, THIS LAND IS . . . (2011): New Zealand in the eye of the beholder

Some many decades ago, after my dad and I had returned from an extended overseas trip, we were having dinner with some friends of my parents. At some point one of the guests – perhaps... > Read more