On the eve of the National Indigenous Music Awards, national treasure Gurrumul Yunupingu is releasing a new single ‘Maralitja – Crocodile Man” as a tribute to the man he called “wawa” or “brother”, Dr Yunupingu.
The song was a favourite of Dr Yunupingu, originally from Yothu Yindi’s multiplatinum album Tribal Voice and will be performed with the original band and Gurrumul this Saturday at the National Indigenous Music Awards. Dr Yunupingu heard Gurrumul’s version last year at the ARIA Hall of Fame inductions, and his family have vetted the release.
“The passing of Dr. Yunupingu was significant to Gurrumul, and there is an enormous level of respect there – of what he stood for, the history he has created, and also what they achieved together” said friend and musical collaborator Michael Hohnen. “He loved that man for many reasons but remembers this song ‘Maralitja Man’ or ‘Crocodile Man’ as a sharing of an identity with which they were both born – the identity of the saltwater crocodile”.
Upon his brother’s passing, Gurrumul released the statement “I respect him….and I love him…. And I miss him”, one of the few times the singer has made a public statement other than via his songs since his journey in music began with his role in Yothu Yindi.
The winner of ten previous NIMAs, Gurrumul is pleased to be performing at Saturday’s event where he is also up for National Artist of the Year. He also holds two nominations for Song of the Year for his collaboration with Yolanda Be Cool and Flume on “A Baru In New York” and his stunning duet with Delta Goodrem “Bayini” which he performed earlier this year on The Voice, topping the iTunes charts and becoming the first Indigenous language release to hit the ARIA top five singles.
Gurrumul is also nominated for Act of the Year at the 2013 Deadly Awards to be held at the Sydney Opera House this September.
theaussieword.com caught up with Gurrumul’s friend and musical collaborator Michael Hohnen!
How does Gurrumul feel to be able to release this tribute for Dr Yunupingu?
This release is a great opportunity to pay respect to a man and a big part of Gurrumul’s life that gave him so much. Yothu Yindi was Gurrumul’s apprenticeship into the industry, and this song was a big part of that journey.
It has been a great year for Gurrumul, what does it mean to be nominated for Act of the Year at the 2013 Deadly Awards?
Recognition within one’s own group is a very heartening and affirming moment for Gurrumul. To take that to a national level, and in the Sydney arena he feels that it is extended beyond what he really expects in some ways. He revels in the fact that this nomination has come in and that people who vote in The Deadlys from around Australia think as much of him as his family in his community in NE Arnhem Land.
Does Gurrumul have any exciting projects coming up for 2014?
Yes. Many, but one we have started premiering is his 3rd album. We don’t yet have a release date but it will be along the lines of some of the new works we recently performed at VIVID Sydney as part of the Gurrumul – His Life and Music concert series with the orchestra. They are explorations into traditional song, harmonised and orchestrally arranged. AWAYE just played a couple of the pieces live for their 21st birthday celebrations, and we are doing some more live versions soon.
A stunning Delta Goodrem joins forces with the brilliant Gurrumul on Aussie talent show The Voice to perform Gurrumul’s track Bayini…
We breed them well here in Australia.
GURRUMUL: HIS LIFE AND MUSIC
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.
Featuring previously unpublished images from Gurrumul’s childhood and images from some of the world’s best rock photographers, Gurrumul: His Life and Music provides in words, pictures and song, unforgettable insight into the story of one of Australia’s most original performers. It also includes an exclusive CD of remixed songs from his bestselling albums Gurrumul and Rrakala, featuring rare remixes of the songs ‘Bäpa’ and ‘Gurrumul History (I was Born Blind)’ and ‘Warwu’.
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.
Thank you to Nicola Woods, HarperCollins Publishers Australia and ABC Books – we appreciate your support at theaussieword.com!
The Northern Territory’s Gurrumul has gone viral with his Yolanda Be Cool song collaboration “A Baru In New York” remixed by #1 ARIA hitmaker Flume. Gurrumul wrote the lyrics about his totem — A “Baru” is a Saltwater Crocodile.
Creating an amazing soundscape which brings Gurrumul’s distinctive vocal and ambience to a whole new level, Flume’s “Soundtrack Version” of Yolanda Be Cool/Gurrumul’s “A Baru In New York” was leaked to Soundcloud last Friday, picking up a near 150,000 streams and over 800 shares in less than a week.
“Gurrumul is so impressed with how his song with Yolanda Be Cool was reinterpreted by Flume,” said Gurrumul’s friend and collaborator Michael Hohnen. “Gurrumul and I listened together to the remix, sitting on the floor, in front of a huge stereo system. He proclaimed at the end of it – “that sounds like a crocodile movie”.
“Gurrumul has embraced this song ever since he created it with the Yolanda boys, and even appeared in the beautiful music video. Flume’s managed to create almost electro-orchestral backing, while retaining the sense of history and dignity which is such a quality of Gurrumul’s music.”
This unique collaboration which has brought together three groundbreaking Australian artists, Gurrumul, Yolanda Be Cool and Flume, has already been labelled as an important bridge between Indigenous and non-Indigenous music, mirroring the cultural contribution made by Gurrumul’s former band Yothu Yindi and the remixes of their 1991 song Treaty.
This is some a m a z i n g music right here! Check it out!
Aussie indigenous superstar Gurrumul Yunupingu will perform for the Queen at the Diamond Jubilee Concert on June 4. Gurrumul will take to the stage with names like Paul McCartney, Tom Jones, Elton John and Cliff Richard, he’ll perform the track ‘Sing’ which is a track penned by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Gary Barlow… Finally, some worldwide recognition for an Aussie musician who is well and truly underrated.
The Melbourne Zoo
has put out an impressive lineup of stars for the upcoming Zoo Twilights
in 2012. Some of the countries best talent joins together for this one off special performance surrounded by the zoo animals. Big names to feature will be that of Washington, The Black Sorrows, Joe Camilleri, Gurrumul, James Reyne, Marcia Hines, Vanessa Amorosi, Kasey Chambers
and Kate Ceberano!
Tickets on sale now!
Saturday 21 January – Washington with Big Scary
Sunday 22 January – James Morrison Quintet with Paul Williamsons Hammond Combo
Saturday 28 January – Kate Ceberano with Jade MacRae
Sunday 29 January – BABBA
Saturday 4 February – Kasey Chambers with Bill Chambers
Sunday 5 February – The Pink Show
Saturday 11 February – The Beautiful Girls with The Fearless Vampire Killers
Sunday 12 February – Marcia Hines with Bonnie Anderson
Saturday 18 February – James Reyne & Band & Daryl Braithwaite
Sunday 19 February – Marina Prior & Friends with special guest Kane Alexander
Saturday 25 February – Vanessa Amorosi with Zoophyte
Sunday 26 February – Wendy Stapleton Swingin’ 60s
Saturday 3 March – Lior
Sunday 4 March – BABBA
Saturday 10 March – Gurrumul with Dewayne Everettsmith
Sunday 11 March – Joe Camilleri & The Black Sorrows with Vika & Linda Bull
Saturday 17 March – RocKwiz Live –Salutes the Animals with hosts Julia Zemiro and Brian Nankervis
Gurrumul Yunupingu – Gopuru
Gopuru, the new single for Gurrumul Yunupingu has been released with an animated video. The clip displaying Gurrumul at his brilliant best. The track is about the rhythms of totem fish swimming, with Gurrumul singing in his Yolngu language. The new album Rrakala has gone gold a month before Gurrumul launches his first ever national tour of the country. He will play at the Sydney Opera House on August 29 then later at Melbourne’s Palais on September 7. His voice – spine tingling, the sound – soothing. An underrated Australian talent.
Let Gurrumul’s Yolngu inspired voice take your breath away.
Rolling Stone Magazine: “Australia’s Most Important Voice”
The new album from Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu – ‘Rrakala’ has debuted at #3 on the ARIA charts and is the highest selling Australian CD this week. Gurrumul goes on a National Tour from 24 August – 10 September with tickets going on sale from Wednesday June 1st. Listen to ‘Baru’ one of the tracks from the new album. ‘Rrakala’ is out now and also available as a digital download from iTunes.
GURRUMUL YUNUPINGU NATIONAL TOUR DATES
Wednesday 24 August 2011
Derwent Entertainment Centre, Hobart Tasmania
Friday 26 August 2011
Riverside Theatre Perth Convention Centre, Perth
Monday 29 August
Sydney Opera House, Sydney
Thursday 1 September
Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane
Saturday 3 September
Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide
Monday 5 September, 2011
Royal Theatre, Canberra Convention Centre Canberra
Wednesday 7 September, 2011
The Palais, St Kilda, Melbourne