I admit I’m a little addicted to the Australian Reality TV Show: The Voice. A show where (relatively) unknown Australian musical artists, compete for the title of “The Voice 2013” hoping to gain the accolades and opportunities that go with “winning” the Voice title. Apart from viewing some diverse Australian musical talent, I am grateful to the Voice, for introducing me to an incredibly gifted Australian musician by the name of Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu.
Gurrumul and Delta Goodrem, accompanied by the Sydney Symphony performed a moving duet on last night’s show – (Gurrumul’s indigenous anthem Bayini).
The song was performed in honour of National Reconciliation week in Australia. See it here: Youtube
A youtube and google search revealed more about this unassuming young man and his incredible music.
An indigenous Australian musician, Gurrumul was born blind and speaks in his native tongue – Yolngu matha – the strongest of 300 languages spoken in indigenous Australian communities. Raised on Elcho Island, which is off the coast of East Arnhem land Gurrumul lives (when he is not travelling) on this small remote island of 2,000 people. He draws his musical inspiration from his connection to the land and his people. He is an extremely humble and private person and does not give interviews as its against his tribal beliefs. Gurrumul plays a right hand strung guitar, left handed.
For me – Garrumul’s songs are stirring, soulful and emotive. It is has been my personal tragedy that until last night, I hadn’t heard his music. Given he is such a talented Australian musician in his own right and there being a grass roots movement supporting him, for whatever reason he has not acquired the commercial notoriety when compared to some of our Australian artists. This is no doubt of his own choosing, chasing fame is not part of Gurrumul’s tribal culture. The popularity of The Voice and his upcoming live performances (28-29th May) at the Sydney Opera House for the Vivid Festival – potentially this could all change.
Robert Hillman, author of Gurrumul’s biography – Gurrumul – His Life and Music – published April, 2013, describes Gurrumul as, ” having an astonishing musical gift that has left audiences all over the world spellbound. He is one of Australia’s most original performers.”
I am move to tears when I hear his soulful and hauntingly beautiful voice. He appears a humble and private man who has touched many with his music and sincerity. His fans include international artists, Sir Elton John, Bjork and Sting. Gurrumul played for Queen Elizabeth at her Diamond Jubilee concert and was the only male soloist invited on the Diamond Jubilee single, “Sing”.
To listen to his magical fragile voice, play these youtube clips:
Baru – sung in his Yolngu language
“One of the most beautiful and emotional songs I have heard in my 62 years on this planet,” an insightful comment in the feed following the youtube clip on Gurrumul’s song Wiyathul.
“You tend to drift away with his voice to a quiet, serene place where we all should be.” A comment which perfectly sums up my feelings when listening to Gurrumul.
Anyone not in that serene place today – take a moment, listen and enjoy. His music will stir your soul.