The record is Gawarra’s ‘Ratja Yaliuali’ and that clarity of art has been recognised this week with his first ARIA nomination for Best World Music. The art of simplicity is infinitely evident on the new single “Kingfisher” which is released today.
With his album ‘Ratja Yaliyali’ written, recorded and produced in Alice Springs, Stanley Gawurra Gaykamangu has produced a snapshot of Australia and in the process catapulted onto the national music stage. He has taken a base of traditional Gupapungu language songs and put a remarkably contemporary take on them, prompting some to label him one of Australia’s most important new Indigenous voices.
A compelling live performer, a true Aussie larrikin and future Elder in his island community, Gawurra recently moved to Melbourne with his family in order to further his musical dream. His culture, songlines and personal story are deeply embedded in his soulful voice and songwriting. The subtle production of NT-based artist and producer Broadwing has brought a subtle electronic influence, while creating a sparse soundscape that is as organic as it is contemporary.
“Having Broadwing work on my album has been a real blessing, he is a special man to me” said Gawurra. “We come from Aboriginal and Balanda (Non-Aboriginal) history, but we have the same love of living and working on music in the territory, and that’s something that connects us, black and white living in the Northern Territory.”
Since releasing ‘Ratja Yaliyali’ in April of this year, Gawurra’s career has been on a prolific rise, taking home four NIMA awards, taking home NT Song of the Year for the title track, supporting Peter Garrett at the Darwin Festival, playing key slots at the NIMAs, Sacred Edge Festival, Federation Square and a showcase performance at BIGSOUND Festival.
The comparisons to Gurrumul are expected, but the deeper comparisons to Indigenous storytellers like Archie Roach and Vic Simms and great Australian tunesmiths like Paul Kelly and Mark Seymour create a deeper picture of what drives Gawurra as an artist. He’s not just telling an Indigenous story. He’s telling an Australian story through an Indigenous lens.