Under the radar: 'Gurrumul'

Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu
Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu
Shane Gilchrist presents a special Summer Times selection of albums that, although obscure, are worth exploring.

Today: Blind Aboriginal singer Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu and his haunting solo album Gurrumul.

Who: Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu is a former member of Aboriginal band Yothu Yindi and performs now with Saltwater Band.

Blind from birth, Yunupingu is from the Gumatj nation in North East Arnhemland.

About the album: Gurrumul (Skinnyfish Music), Yunupingu's debut solo album, is a simple recording, largely comprising acoustic guitar (played upside down, with the bass strings at the bottom) and a voice that is heart-breakingly beautiful.

It doesn't matter that most listeners will understand few of the lyrics; the performance of Yunupingu over a dozen tracks is bare, basic and powerful, the harmonies sublime.

Still, for those who like to know the words, an English translation is provided in the lyric sheet to each track.

Highlights: Opener Wiyathul wastes no time introducing listeners to one of Yunupingu's key devices, a use of "mmm" phrasing that requires no translation, as well as harmonies that arrive like some delightful summer rain storm; Galupa benefits from some gentle guitar overdubbing as well as three-part vocals towards the end that serve to heighten the sense of space.

For those who like: Warumpi Band, protest songs sung gently, something a little different.

 

Add a Comment

 

Advertisement

postanote_header_620_x_80.png

postanote_620_x_25.jpg

Local journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Otago Daily Times reporters and photographers continue to bring you the stories that matter. For more than 158 years our journalists have provided readers with local news you can trust. This is more important now than ever.

As advertising drops off during the pandemic, support from our readers is crucial. You can help us continue to bring you news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter