BY ROBERT HILLMAN
“THE ILLUSTRATED BIOGRAPHY OF ONE OF THE MOST INSPIRING MUSIC STORIES OF OUR GENERATION”
Part road trip, part biography, award-winning biographer Robert Hillman takes you from the world’s great concert halls and recording studios and into Yolngu heartland — to reveal the story and inspirations behind Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu’s international success and fame. Through his own lyrics, in interviews with family, friends and fellow musicians, and time spent on the road with Gurrumul himself, this is a very Australian story of how the former drummer from Yothu Yindi, a double-bass player from Melbourne, and a wool classer from everywhere, meet on Elcho Island in 1996 and combined their talents and optimism to reveal an astonishing musical gift – that has left audiences all over the world spellbound.
Gurrumul has performed for Queen Elizabeth II, US President Barack Obama, Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Mary of Denmark, in addition to being one of only three Australian performers at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert, confirming this multi award-winning musician’s place as an international star, whose life and music transcends cultural boundaries and music genres. Legendary performers such as Elton John and Sting are among his fans. His first solo album, Gurrumul, sold half a million copies worldwide, reaching Triple Platinum in Australia. His second album, Rrakala, achieved Platinum status within a year of its release in April 2011. His work as a solo artist, and member of Yothu Yindi and Saltwater Band, has been recognised with multiple ARIA and Deadly awards. In 2012 he was awarded an honorary doctorate in music from the University of Sydney.
Robert Hillman is a Melbourne-based writer of fiction and biography. His autobiography The Boy in the Green Suit won the Australian National Biography Award for 2005. His critically acclaimed My Life as a Traitor (written with Zarah Ghahramani) was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction in 2008. His most recent collaborations with Najaf Mazari, The Rugmaker of Mazar-e-Sharif and The Honey Thief, grew out of Robert’s abiding interest in the hardships and triumphs of refugees and the rich storytelling traditions of Afghanistan.