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Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu on Wikipedia
Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu
Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu in Nov 2012.jpgGeoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu in November 2012
Background information
Born(1971-01-22) 22 January 1971 (age 46)
Galiwin'ku, Elcho Island, Australia
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, drums, keyboards, didgeridoo
Years active1986–present
LabelsSkinnyfish Music
Associated actsYothu Yindi
Saltwater Band

Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu (born 22 January 1971[1]) is an Indigenous Australian musician who sings in Yolŋu languages and English.

He was born in Galiwin'ku, Elcho Island, off the coast of Arnhem Land, northern Australia about 69.5 kilometres from Darwin. He is from the Gumatj clan of the Yolngu and his mother is from the Galpu nation.[2] He was born blind, has never learned Braille and does not have a guide dog or use a white cane. Yunupingu is said to be acutely shy.[3]

He plays the drums, keyboards, guitar (a right-hand-strung guitar played left-handed) and didgeridoo, but it is the clarity of his singing voice that has attracted rave reviews. He sings stories of his land in both languages (Gälpu, Gumatj or Djambarrpuynu, all Yolŋu languages) and English.[4] Formerly with Yothu Yindi, he is now with Saltwater Band.


  • 1 Career history
  • 2 Discography
    • 2.1 Studio albums
    • 2.2 Live albums
  • 3 Awards
  • 4 See also
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links

Career history

In 2008 Yunupingu was nominated for four ARIA Awards,[5] winning the awards for Best World Music Album[6] and Best Independent Release.[7] He also won three Deadlys, winning for Artist of the Year, Album of the Year for Gurrumul and Single of the Year for "Gurrumul History (I Was Born Blind)".[8]

His first solo album, Gurrumul, debuted at No. 69 on the ARIA Charts and No. 1 on the independent chart.[9] Gurrumul peaked at No. 3 on the ARIA Charts.[10] Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu's friend Michael Hohnen produced the album and acts as his translator. Critics have heaped praise on the singer, describing his voice as having "transcendental beauty". Elton John, Sting and Björk are among his fans. When asked what he would do with any money he made, he suggested it would go to his mother and aunts, following the Aboriginal tradition of sharing wealth.[3]

In November 2009, he was named Best New Independent Artist, and his album, Gurrumul, Best Independent Release and Best Independent Blues/Roots Release at the Jägermeister Australian Independent Record (AIR) Awards held at Melbourne's Corner Hotel.[11] In January 2009, his song, "Gurrumul History (I Was Born Blind)", was featured on the British TV show, Skins.

On New Year's Eve 2008, Yunupingu performed on Sydney New Year's Eve 2008–09 with his song "Bäpa". He is the 2009 Northern Territory recipient of Australian of the Year and he performed "Bäpa" at the ceremony.

In 2009 a portrait of Gurrumul by Guy Maestri won Australia's major art prize, the Archibald Prize.[12]

He was again awarded the Australian Independent Record (AIR) Award for Best Independent Blues and Roots Album in 2011 for his album Rrakala.[13]

In 2012 Gurrumul was one of the contributing vocalists on Gary Barlow's commemorative single "Sing" for Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee celebrations, which features artists from across the Commonwealth. He performed "Sing" live at the Diamond Jubilee Concert on Monday 4 June 2012 together with many of the song's contributing artists.[14]

In 2013, Gurrumul joined Delta Goodrem for a special performance of "Bayini" on The Voice Australia.[15]

Yolngu are deep thinking philosophical people. The words in the song refer to many families sitting together on the beach looking to waves and sea, the horizon, contemplating.[16]

This performance was in celebration of National Reconciliation Week. The single was released on 31 May and debuted at number 4 on the ARIA Singles Chart.[17]

In December 2013, Gurrumul released a live album, titled His Life and Music which was recorded in the Sydney Opera House and released through ABC Music. It was nominated for Australian Independent Record Labels Association and ARIA awards.

In 2015, Gurrumul toured the US.[18] He released his third studio album, The Gospel Album on 31 July 2015. It debuted at number 3 on the ARIA Charts. In October 2015, the album won Gurrumul's third ARIA Award for Best World Music Album. [19]

Studio albums

  • Gurrumul (2008) #3 AUS[20]
  • Rrakala (2011) #3 AUS[20]
  • The Gospel Album (2015) #3 AUS[20]

Live albums

  • Live in Darwin, Australia (2010)
  • His Life and Music (2013) #48 AUS[20] (ABC Music)


  • 2016 NAIDOC Award - Artist of the Year[21]

See also

  • Bayini


  1. ^
  2. ^ OzArts Gurrumul
  3. ^ a b McMahon, Barbara (17 July 2008). "Aboriginal singer beats poverty and prejudice to top Australian charts". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 14 April 2014. 
  4. ^ dB Magazine Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunipingu
  5. ^ Aria Awards
  6. ^ SBS news Arnhem Land's Gurrumul wins ARIA award Archived 22 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ 2008 Aria Award Winners
  8. ^ Northern Territory News[dead link] Gurrumul Deadly at Awards
  9. ^ National Indigenous Times – Issue 156 Gurrumul CDs to tap into UK Archived 23 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ The ARIA Report issue 1021
  11. ^ "Yunupingu Wins AIR Awards Triple". 25 November 2008. Retrieved 26 November 2008. 
  12. ^ "Archibald Prize 09". Art Gallery of New South Wales. 8 February 2010. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  13. ^ Australian Independent Record Labels Association Ltd (AIR), 2012
  14. ^ "The Diamond Jubilee Official". 4 June 2012. 
  15. ^ McCabe, Kathy (27 May 2013). "Delta to sing Gurrumul's indigenous anthem Bayini on The Voice tonight". Herald Sun. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  16. ^ Ferreira, Nuno Saque (10 May 2012). "Gurrumul featuring Sarah Blasko – Bayini – UK single release July 2nd". #AltSounds. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Gurrumul announces USA Tour 2015". Retrieved 11 August 2015. 
  19. ^ "Courtney Barnett, Hermitude, Tame Impala Lead 2015 ARIA Award Nominations". Nastassia Baroni. 7 October 2015. Archived from the original on 7 October 2015. Retrieved 7 October 2015. 
  20. ^ a b c d
  21. ^ "First Indigenous nurse graduate among winners at the 2016 NAIDOC awards". ABC News. 8 July 2016. Retrieved 11 July 2016. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu – MySpace page
  • Video of Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu performing at YouTube
  • National Indigenous Times – Issue 151 Yunupingu's voice creates waves throughout the world
  • Skinny Fish Music – Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu

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