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Review: Gurrumul, Indigenous Australian singer

freda underhill 27 Apr 08 - 03:11 AM
Sandra in Sydney 27 Apr 08 - 04:54 AM
Charley Noble 27 Apr 08 - 02:53 PM
George Papavgeris 27 Apr 08 - 05:36 PM
katlaughing 27 Apr 08 - 05:46 PM
freda underhill 27 Apr 08 - 06:14 PM
katlaughing 27 Apr 08 - 11:32 PM
katlaughing 27 Apr 08 - 11:37 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 28 Apr 08 - 08:09 AM
George Papavgeris 28 Apr 08 - 08:22 AM
George Papavgeris 28 Apr 08 - 09:20 PM
freda underhill 30 Apr 08 - 02:55 AM
freda underhill 01 May 08 - 11:53 AM
Zen 01 May 08 - 12:15 PM
freda underhill 08 May 08 - 03:05 AM
freda underhill 31 Oct 08 - 06:56 PM
Art Thieme 31 Oct 08 - 10:03 PM
freda underhill 06 Mar 09 - 06:10 AM
Peace 07 Mar 09 - 03:18 PM
freda underhill 30 Jun 09 - 07:34 PM
GUEST,leeneia 01 Jul 09 - 09:32 AM
freda underhill 01 Jul 09 - 06:52 PM
freda underhill 13 Nov 09 - 12:23 AM
freda underhill 29 Nov 09 - 03:32 AM
freda underhill 09 Jan 10 - 01:28 AM
Ross Campbell 09 Jan 10 - 04:26 PM
Sandra in Sydney 05 Jun 10 - 04:41 AM
Liz the Squeak 06 Jun 10 - 12:39 AM
Tangledwood 06 Jun 10 - 07:42 PM
Liz the Squeak 07 Jun 10 - 01:45 AM
freda underhill 01 May 15 - 06:32 PM
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Subject: Review: Gurrumul, Indigenous Australian singer
From: freda underhill
Date: 27 Apr 08 - 03:11 AM

I've been listening to the music of Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, a blind indigenous Australian singer with a beautiful tenor voice.

He lives in an Aboriginal community on a remote island off the north coast of Australia; and has released his first solo album - "Gurrumul". The album is a mixture of traditional songs and new compositions, and all but two of the songs are sung in Yolngu. His voice is hauntingly beautiful, he plays guitar and is backed by double bass, played by his friend and producer Michael Hohnen. In a recent interview in Sydney, Yunupingu remained largely silent. He is acutely shy, and English is not his first language. Gurrumul Yunupingu is from the Gumatj clan of the Yolngu on Elcho Island, off the north coast of Australia some 560 kilometers, or 350 miles, from Darwin, the nearest big city on the mainland.

The Yolngu people have given Australia some of its most successful bands. Yothu Yindi was founded by one of Yunupingu's relatives, Mandawuy Yunupingu. George Burarrwanga, the lead singer of the other great breakthrough group, the Warumpi Band, also came from Elcho Island. Gurrumul spent seven years playing and touring with Yothu Yindi, Thirteen years ago, he left Yothu Yindi and returned to live full-time on Elcho Island. He founded Saltwater Band, which has released two albums that were well-received by critics but did not break into the broader music market. The band has another album coming out this year. This new solo CD has become very popular and he is being hailed as the best Indigenous singer to be heard in recent years. I am listening to the CD at my daughter's place in Austria and loving it, I highly recommend it as inspirational, moving, evocative and unique music.

it's so long since I've done it, I've forgotten how to do blue clickies but have added a couple of links and hope someone can fix this for me. his music is not to be missed!

freda

http://www.skinnyfishmusic.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=170&Itemid=126

http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/04/22/asia/musician.php


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Subject: RE: Review: Gurrumul, Indigenous Australian singe
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 27 Apr 08 - 04:54 AM

first blicky and the other blicky!


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Subject: RE: Review: Gurrumul, Indigenous Australian singe
From: Charley Noble
Date: 27 Apr 08 - 02:53 PM

Thanks, Freda, for sharing this information.

Sounds very interesting.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Review: Gurrumul, Indigenous Australian singer
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 27 Apr 08 - 05:36 PM

I listened to both clips on the two blickies above, then went to Gurrumul's mySpace page and gorged. Wow, what a voice!. One of the articles captured it well, calling it "powerful yet fragile". And the tunes are all so haunting... The opening words of "Gurrumul's History" cut deep:

"I was born blind
and I don't know why
God Knows why
because he loved me so!"

Thanks for the link freda!


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Subject: RE: Review: Gurrumul, Indigenous Australian singer
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Apr 08 - 05:46 PM

Thanks Freda and George. I love his voice and guitar playing. Freda,are there liner notes in English, too? I'd love to be able to read the stories he sings.

Thanks so much,

kat


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Subject: RE: Review: Gurrumul, Indigenous Australian singe
From: freda underhill
Date: 27 Apr 08 - 06:14 PM

kat, the CD comes with an insert containing song lyrics in Yolnu and their english translations, + black and white photographs of Gurrumul. here is a sample (not all verses) from one song:

here i am, grieving, i'm crying, because of the sunset
My colours across the afternoon sky, Garrumara Bangarrari, Galangarri Galathi
My clouds are rising, Wulpünduganawirra Gumbalkarra, shapes are like people
Reflections on the calm water for me, shimmering on the water
With this sunset.
O...h I am, oh I am Loli (ancestors)
Oh I am Galparra, Gurrumulga (ancesters)
The wind caresses me, the arms of the northern winds
And my grandmother country..

another good article about him is here:
http://www.smh.com.au/news/cd-reviews/gurrumul/2008/04/11/1207856814878.html

freda


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Subject: RE: Review: Gurrumul, Indigenous Australian singer
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Apr 08 - 11:32 PM

Thank you, freda. His plaintive voice and evocative tunes/guitar playing remind me a little bit of the recordings Paul Simon made with musicians from Africa. Beautiful, soul-touching music which settles in my heart.

katgratefull


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Subject: RE: Review: Gurrumul, Indigenous Australian singer
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Apr 08 - 11:37 PM

Since it is okay and, even, encouraged to post full articles, etc. bout musicians, I am going to paste that last review in. I agree entirely with its author, from what I have heard on myspace. Thanks for the link, freda:

Gurrumul

Bruce Elder, reviewer
April 11, 2008

Listen to Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu and you will surrender to the greatest voice this continent has ever recorded.
Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu

Australia has produced very few, if any, popular singers of such extraordinary talent that their voices seem to be a gift from the gods. We have, until now, produced no Aaron Neville. No one has ever felt the need to write a Killing Me Softly With His Song about the sheer transcendental beauty of some Australian vocalist.

Not until now. Listen to Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu (yes, he does belong to the family that gave the world Yothu Yindi) as he sings in Galpu, Djambarrpuynu, Gumatj - and, occasionally, in English - and you will instantly surrender to the greatest voice this continent has ever recorded.

Blind from birth, a long-time member of the Saltwater Band (a talented Aboriginal outfit from Elcho Island) and a hugely gifted songwriter, Yunupingu has eschewed the fashionable Aboriginal approach to music which tends to emphasise lyrics (usually addressing such issues as land rights, the stolen generations and death in custody) over vocals and music.

He is not another Aboriginal musician singing protest songs against a rock, reggae or folk-country backing. Rather he is a deeply traditional man with the voice of an angel singing of his love of country ( Wiyathul, Galiku), his deep spiritual connection with the land ( Djarimirri, Marrandil), the death of his father ( Bapa), the difficulties of being born blind - which he sings in a mixture of local language and English ( Gurrumul History) - and the importance to his life of continuity and his ancestors. The backing is sparse and simple.

This is, by any measure, an extraordinary album. Yunupingu has a voice which is so beautiful and so emotion-laden that it invests every song with a passion and pathos which are quite overwhelming. Non-Elcho Island listeners (which, obviously, is most of us) cannot understand the meaning of the songs - which are not only obscured by language but also, even in translation, far beyond the frame of reference of modern city dwellers.

Yet there is something so timeless and so direct that it is impossible to remain unmoved. It is as though Yunupingu has reached into a wellspring so deep it transcends cultural barriers. He has found an emotional bridge which is genuinely universal. This is not just a very good record. It is one of the greatest recordings ever made by a local indigenous musician.


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Subject: RE: Review: Gurrumul, Indigenous Australian singe
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 28 Apr 08 - 08:09 AM

An amazingly beautiful voice, sweet without being sugary, sensitive guitar playing and lovely songs. What a stunning talent - it also sparks a greater interest to learn more about aboriginal culture and the soil his songs spring from. Thanks so much Freda, George too. Gurrumul Yunupingu should be much better known.


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Subject: RE: Review: Gurrumul, Indigenous Australian singer
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 28 Apr 08 - 08:22 AM

Indeed, Bonnie - I put the links up on a new thread at the fRoots forum, the idea being to alert those more interested in World Music. There are some voices that make you envious, wishing you could have one like that. And others that go beyond and just leave you grateful. Gurrumul's is definitely of the latter kind.


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Subject: RE: Review: Gurrumul, Indigenous Australian singer
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 28 Apr 08 - 09:20 PM

bump


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Subject: RE: Review: Gurrumul, Indigenous Australian singe
From: freda underhill
Date: 30 Apr 08 - 02:55 AM

here's a link to his Youtube page with sound bites

http://www.youtube.com/user/gurrumul

freda


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Subject: RE: Review: Gurrumul, Indigenous Australian singe
From: freda underhill
Date: 01 May 08 - 11:53 AM

and here's another link to more sound bites

http://www.abc.net.au/rn/awaye/stories/2008/2210788.htm


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Subject: RE: Review: Gurrumul, Indigenous Australian singer
From: Zen
Date: 01 May 08 - 12:15 PM

I like this very much. Thanks for the links Freda.

Zen


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Subject: RE: Review: Gurrumul, Indigenous Australian singer
From: freda underhill
Date: 08 May 08 - 03:05 AM

no probs, zen. here's another review (from Australia's "Indigenous Times" Issue 152 - 02 May 2008)

Gurrumul¡¯ debuts at 21 on ARIA
By Amy McQuire
NATIONAL

THE debut solo album of Aboriginal singer/songwriter Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu has hit the ARIA album charts at no 21. Mr Yunupingu¡¯s self-titled album ¡°Gurrumul¡± has already attracted critical acclaim both in Australia and overseas and has been instrumental in several media outlets labelling him the new voice of Aboriginal music.

But the singer, who was born blind and plays his guitar upside down because he is left handed, is not new to the Australian music scene.
He was a member of one of the country¡¯s most famous Aboriginal bands, Yothu Yindi and was the front man for the Saltwater Band.

But it is his debut album that has been causing waves, with it peaking at number one on the ¡°roots¡± chart on Itunes and number 5 on the mainstream chart.

In a review in the Sydney Morning Herald, Bruce Elder states that listening to the album means that you will ¡°instantly surrender to the greatest voice this continent has ever recorded¡±.

The Australian newspaper described the singer¡¯s voice as ¡°a sweetly spiritual instrument with a hypnotic tone¡±.


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Subject: RE: Review: Gurrumul, Indigenous Australian singer
From: freda underhill
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 06:56 PM

The album, "Gurrumul" won the ARIA for Best World Music Album at Australia's ARIA Fine Arts Awards. The awards were held at the City Recital Hall, Angel Place in Sydney. He also won the ARIA for Best Independent Album Sunday night, at the 2008 ARIA Awards. This is his second solo ARIA now, after having won one at the ARIA Fine Arts Awards for Best World Music Album.

If you go to Gurrumul's website you can find more information, links to MP3s of him performing. He may be touring in China, the UK & New York in 2009.

For Sydneysiders, he'll be performing at the - Enmore Theatre on Thurday 27 November With special guest Ego Lemos (East Timor)

As well, for facebookers, there is a group on facebook, here

Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu

freda


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Subject: RE: Review: Gurrumul, Indigenous Australian singer
From: Art Thieme
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 10:03 PM

Please excuse a small joke:

If this becomes a musical theatrical production, would an aboriginal cast recording be issued???

I was just wondering...

Art


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Subject: RE: Review: Gurrumul, Indigenous Australian singer
From: freda underhill
Date: 06 Mar 09 - 06:10 AM

This
portrait of Gurrumul just won the Archibald prize at the Art gallery of NSW in Sydney.


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Subject: RE: Review: Gurrumul, Indigenous Australian singer
From: Peace
Date: 07 Mar 09 - 03:18 PM

I have his CD and the man has the voice of an angel. He's GREAT.


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Subject: RE: Gurrumul in London July 09
From: freda underhill
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 07:34 PM

Sunday 19th July - Latitude Festival 2009, Southwold, Suffolk


Tuesday 21st July - Queen Elizabeth Hall, London


don't miss him!


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Subject: RE: Review: Gurrumul, Indigenous Australian singer
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 01 Jul 09 - 09:32 AM

Freda, thanks for introducing me to this interesting and beautiful music.


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Subject: RE: Gurrumul in London July 09
From: freda underhill
Date: 01 Jul 09 - 06:52 PM

thanks Leenia, he'll be in London this month, it's an opportunity for UK catters to hear him.


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Subject: RE: Review: Gurrumul, Indigenous Australian singer
From: freda underhill
Date: 13 Nov 09 - 12:23 AM

Sting and Gurrumul Yunupingu sing in Paris

He is on a maiden European tour taking in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Britain and Ireland.

In Britain, The Times said the blind singer's voice was "as sumptuously soothing as a log fire on a freezing night".

Former Midnight Oil frontman and Australian Environment Minister Peter Garrett has said the Arnhem Land musician - whose lyrics are mostly delivered in his people's language - "sings so deeply and sweetly about his connection to family and country, the effect is transcendental."

Sting was in Paris for the promotion of his new album, If On A Winter's Night - celebrating the winter season through traditional music and instruments, as well as his own songs.


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Subject: RE: Review: Gurrumul, Indigenous Australian singer
From: freda underhill
Date: 29 Nov 09 - 03:32 AM

Singer conquers Europe but 'wants to go home'

theage.com.au November 29, 2009

On his first tour of Europe but fast becoming the talk of the town, upcoming world music sensation Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, the blind Aboriginal with the voice of an angel, "just wants to go home". "He hates travelling," said his friend, manager, producer and spokesman from Melbourne, Michael Hohnen. "He's happy and content sitting with his family on his island, eating stingray, singing songs, telling stories, just being social."

"Ever since we left Australia he just wants to go home," he told AFP this week. Though Gurrumul may hate showbiz, he pulled off something of a coup by performing a duo in Paris a few days ago with none other than Sting, which airs on television and the internet on December 16.

And his first album, just released in Europe after being a hit in Australia, has sold more than 250,000 copies - a more than respectable figure for the world music genre. But Hohnen says sales could soar if the media-shy star finally agreed to meet the press and talk on TV.

"During the actual gigs he's in his element as a musician and as a singer," said Hohnen, who met the 38-year-old singer-songwriter more than a decade ago on his Elcho Island home off the coast of remote Arnhem Land in northern Australia, where Gurrumul plays in a group called Saltwater Band.

"But he doesn't like being the centre of attention. It's taken me a long time to convince him he can be centre-stage." The reluctant star never gives interviews, singing about ancestry, country, spirits and land - mostly in the Yolngu dialect of the Gumatj clan - while Hohnen deals with the press and the practicalities.

"He doesn't see the point of interviews," Hohnen said. "And he doesn't see himself as a spokesman for his people."

From an ode to orange-footed scrub fowl or python ancestors to songs about sunsets and storm clouds and grief, Gurrumul cuts to the quick with a voice Britain's Independent hailed as "timeless, nostalgic and haunting".

AFP


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Subject: RE: Review: Gurrumul, Indigenous Australian singer
From: freda underhill
Date: 09 Jan 10 - 01:28 AM

Gurrumul is the NUMBER 1 best selling World Music album in the UK for 2009.Source: Official UK Charts Company

:-D


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Subject: RE: Review: Gurrumul, Indigenous Australian singe
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 09 Jan 10 - 04:26 PM

So not just me (and them up above)!

Ross


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Subject: RE: Review: Gurrumul, Indigenous Australian singer
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 05 Jun 10 - 04:41 AM

Indigenous artist scores US coffee chain deal

Indigenous singer-songwriter Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu has scored a deal with a major coffee store chain in the United States.

For a week in July, Yunupingu's single "Wiyathul" will be played in more than 7,000 of the company's stores and will be available online for free.

Yunupingu sings almost exclusively in his Yolngu language.

His friend, Michael Hohnen, believes Yunupingu can be successful in the United States.

"There's lots of other exciting things looking like happening there," he said.

"But you know as the music industry is half of them fall through and other opportunities come up.

"But we're looking at a lot of things over the next month that will hopefully be enough of a boost to present it to mainstream America."


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Subject: RE: Review: Gurrumul, Indigenous Australian singer
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 06 Jun 10 - 12:39 AM

I've got the album on my MP3 - a beautiful and tranquil oasis amongst the classical 'crap' and heavy metal.

It is an incredible album and worth more than one listen.

Thank you, Australian Mudcatter whose name I forgot (I'm thinking JennyO?) for introducing me to him!

LTS


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Subject: RE: Review: Gurrumul, Indigenous Australian singer
From: Tangledwood
Date: 06 Jun 10 - 07:42 PM

Thanks for the memory jog Sandra. I played the CD during a long drive home yesterday evening - nice and relaxing.

It is good that he has been recognised by a coffee company - it will make a change for them, not serving up "flat white". :)


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Subject: RE: Review: Gurrumul, Indigenous Australian singer
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 01:45 AM

Ah, thank you Freda for reminding me who sent me the CD! It is indeed, relaxing and I truly hope that it remains that way. He seems to be a gentle and simple soul - let's all hope he doesn't get corrupted or his message perverted by Corporate Amurka

LRS


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Subject: RE: Review: Gurrumul, Indigenous Australian singer
From: freda underhill
Date: 01 May 15 - 06:32 PM

He's in NYC....

Singer Gurrumul has won star backing for a first US tour, with producer Quincy Jones promoting his New York City show this week. With a plaintive yet mellifluous voice, Gurrumul transcends language barriers as he sings in his Gumatj dialect which is understood by only around 3,000 people worldwide.The blind singer, whose full name is Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, grants no interviews but has sold more than half a million albums, largely in Australia where the 45-year-old from Elcho Island has become an unlikely chart sensation.

hGurrumul review NYC


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