Gurrumul: The Gospel Album (Skinnyfish/Southbound)

 |   |  1 min read

Gurrumul: Amazing Grace
Gurrumul: The Gospel Album (Skinnyfish/Southbound)

There is something just so right about this retiring, blind Aboriginal singer taking his rare gift to gospel songs, just as there's something equally right in Nick Cave exploring the antithesis.

Both have the voice for their subjects. 

Brought up in the local church on Elcho Island off the top of Australia, Gurrumul has appeared at Elsewhere for his previous albums where the secular was also imbued with something of the spirit of the divine.

Here however -- singing in the language of his mob -- he gives a fairly straight folk treatment to some occasionally familiar pieces (Amazing Grace which gets a reprise with Paul Kelly, All God's Children and the old Hallelujah, not the Cohen song).

Nearly all of these proceed at a very slow walking pace -- you don't come here to dance or joyously celebrate the Holy Spirit -- and Gurrumul's vocals broadcast on a similar wavelength on them all.

So beautiful though it can be, you probably do need to be well-disposed to the sound in the first place (think Fijian music if it helps) but when he steps a bit further forward -- as on All God's Children -- something rather special does happen.

The bright folk-pop of Saviour over chipping electric guitar and with backing vocals echoing his lines is especially appealing, but it's the haunting soundbed and fiddle like an old Anglo-folk ballad behind his yearning vocals on Baptism which make it the standout.

Although it would take a heart of ice not to be moved by his version of Amazing Grace (in his own language and without Kelly). 


Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Ralph Towner and Paolo Fresu: Chiaroscuro (ECM/Ode)

Ralph Towner and Paolo Fresu: Chiaroscuro (ECM/Ode)

The album title here perhaps suggest rather more shadowland than is evident in these beautiful, sometimes light-filled duets by acoustic guitarist Towner and flugel/trumpet player Fresu.... > Read more

Mike Cooper: Trout Steel (Paradise of Bachelors/Southbound)

Mike Cooper: Trout Steel (Paradise of Bachelors/Southbound)

A few weeks ago when Elsewhere reviewed the predominantly guitar instrumental/experimental album Cantos de Lisboa by Steve Gunn and Mike Cooper, we confessed to knowing little about Cooper who... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

FOOTROT FLATS, 25th ANNIVERSARY EDITION, by MURRAY BALL (Roadshow DVD)

FOOTROT FLATS, 25th ANNIVERSARY EDITION, by MURRAY BALL (Roadshow DVD)

As I write, there is a steady drizzle and high wind so you can guess the season. Yes, it's the "summer" of 2011/2012 in New Zealand where, ironically, every part of the country aside from... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Flight of the Conchords; I Told You I Was Freaky

THE BARGAIN BUY: Flight of the Conchords; I Told You I Was Freaky

The recent re-screening the complete seasons of Flight of the Conchords on a Sky channel allowed a bit of distance on this decade old series and the chance to see if it still stacked up. It... > Read more