Gurrumul is an enigma in the Australian music industry.
Born blind, Gurrumul grew up as a member of the Gumatj clan on Elcho Island, off the coast of tropical North East Arnhemland. His fragile but powerfully emotive voice has affected the public in a way no other artist has done in this country. This unique Aboriginal man sings songs about identity, spirit and connection with the land, its elements and the ancestral beings he is related to. His high tenor voice and aura-like persona creates emotion, compassion and a feeling of peacefulness and longing with audiences in Australia and around the world.
In today’s world where the media and the music industries are based around hype, fashion and disposable artists, Gurrumul has emerged as unique celebrity, who will ‘change the way you breathe’ (Brisbane Courier Mail, 2008) and change the way people listen to and experience his Yolngu cultural world through an accessible Western music style.
Gurrumul first came to attention when he released his eponymous debut to international claim. His angelic voice connected with listeners worldwide including Elton John, will.I.am and Sting who are big fans. The debut album ‘Gurrumul’ has sold half a million copies worldwide, reaching Triple Platinum in Australia, his second solo album ‘Rralaka’ released in April 2011 has hit Platinum, and the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine declared Gurrumul “Australia’s Most Important Voice” (Rolling Stone, April 2011).
Gurrumul has performed for HRH The Queen of England, US President Barack Obama, Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Mary of Denmark, in addition to being one of only two Australian performers at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace, confirming this multi ARIA award-winning musician’s place as an international star, capable of transcending cultural boundaries.
Career Highlights & Australian Industry Awards:
2014 Mar: Perth première of the concert ‘Gurrumul. His Life and Music’ - a cultural and musical account of his unique life, voiced through song, film and the storytelling of his people, backed by the orchestral strength of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, supported by Christine Anu.
2014 Feb: Adelaide première of the concert ‘Gurrumul. His Life and Music’ - backed by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, supported by Kate Cebrano.
2013 Dec: First live album - Gurrumul and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. ‘His Life and Music’ recorded live at the Sydney Opera House was released and debuted in the ARIA top 50.
2013 Oct: Performance at the public launch of ABC award winning TV series Redfern Now, held at The Block in Redfern, Sydney
2013 Oct: Performance for the Danish Royal Crown Couple during their official visit to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Sydney Opera House
2013 Oct: Gurrumul is named Number One on the Australian Financial Review’s Cultural Power List “(Gurrumul)..comes from such a deep part in our culture.. English is not his first language.. .. an ancestry and soulfulness that’s pretty much without peer in the music of any culture of the moment” Vallentine. AFR Judging Panel 2013.
2013 Oct: The Gurrumul Yunupingu Foundation is launched with a vision is to provide support for indigenous youth in remote communities, continuing a legacy of Aboriginal knowledge, achievement and opportunity
2013 Oct: Melbourne première of ‘Gurrumul. His Life and Music’ - backed by the orchestral strength of Philharmonia Australia and held at the Sidney Myer Music Bowel to an audience of approx 6000, supported by Sarah Blasko and presented by Melbourne Festival.
2013 Oct: Headline performer at the inaugural Boomerang Festival – a new world Indigenous Festival initiative held in Byron Bay, NSW.
2013 Sep: Gurrumul, Mark Grose and Michael Hohnen (Skinnyfish Music Directors) are Keynote participants on the Q&A couch of Big Sound, Brisbane and performing a preview song from his new album (not yet released).
2013 Aug: Presented with a Special Recognition Award at the 2013 National Indigenous Music Awards for his ongoing contribution to the Indigenous music scene, followed by a guest performance with the Yothu Yindi band in a special memorial concert for Gurrumul’s cousin, the late Dr Yunupingu.
2013 Jul: Full band performance at Splendour in the Grass Music Festival, and a guest appearance with song collaborators of “A Baru in New York” - Yolanda Be Cool
2013 Jun: Headline artist at the 28th Barunga Festival including guest performance with John Butler for ‘Wukun’, and special song dedication to his kin - the late Dr Yunupingu (Yothu Yindi)
2013 May: Joined award winning artist Delta Goodrem for a special performance of 'Bayini' on The Voice Australia in celebration of National Reconciliation Week. The song was later released on iTunes with all proceeds going to the Gurrumul Yunupingu Foundation. The duet debuted at No. 4 on the ARIA charts and hit No. 1 on the iTunes charts.
2013 May: Vivid LIVE presented the world premiere of ‘Gurrumul. His Life and Music’ - a biographic tour-de-force of Gurrumul’s life through song, film and narrative elements in collaboration with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Sell out performances at the Sydney Opera House with standing ovations, a surprise guest appearance by Delta Goodrem and 5 star reviews.
2013 May: Headline artist at the Kimberley Moon Experience in Kununurra Western Australia.
2013 May: Gurrumul, Mark Grose and Michael Hohnen (Skinnyfish Music Directors) are Keynote participants on the Q&A couch of Music Matters, Singapore and performing at the Aussie BBQ showcase including guest performance with Katie Noonan.
2013 May: Launch of the authorised biography ‘Gurrumul. His Life and Music’ by Robert Hillman - an illustrated hardback with over 150 pictures and a bonus 15-track album of unreleased mixes, published by ABC Books and Harper Collins.
2013 Apr: A unique remix of ‘Baru’ with two groundbreaking Australian artists - Yolanda Be Cool and Flume. Yolanda Be Cool released their remix and film clip - ‘A Baru In New York’ (feat. Gurrumul), closely followed by #1 ARIA hitmaker Flume’s ‘Soundtrack Version of A Baru In New York’ which was leaked to Soundcloud and instantly going viral with over 150,000 streams and 800 shares in less than a week.
2013 Mar: Headline performance at Blue Mountains Festival, NSW
2013 Feb : Headline performance at Canberra’s Centenary Celebrations and Port Fairy Folk Festival, Vic
2013 Jan: Headline performance at Sydney’s iconic Australia Day Concert on the harbour foreshore.
2012 Nov: National tour as support and guest artist with Missy Higgins, performing their 2011 ARIA collaboration of ‘Warwu’
2012 Nov: Yothu Yindi are inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame, performing ‘Treaty’ to a live audience, featuring Gurrumul on keyboard and vocals alongside guest artists Peter Garrett, Paul Kelly, Dan Sultan & Jessica Mauboy
2012 Nov: Awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music by the University of Sydney by Chancellor and Governor of NSW Professor Marie Bashir.
2012 Nov: Invited to perform at the Diamond Jubilee Reception at the Sydney Opera House on the occasion of the visit by HRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall.
2012 Oct: Headline artist to open Australian cultural festival ‘OzFest’ in India, launched by Prime Minister Julia Gillard alongside didgeridoo virtuoso Mark Atkins and Indian sitarist Anoushak Shankar at Delhi’s historic Sher Mandal Observatory of Purana Qila.
2012 Sep: Deadly Awards;
- Male Artist of the year
2012 Aug: National Indigenous Music Awards;
- Act of the Year
- Cover Art of the Year – Bayini featuring Sarah Blasko, Artwork by Carlo Santone
2012 Jul: Rrakala reaches PLATINUM status in Australia
2012 Jun: ABC TV Australian Story airs ‘You’re the Voice’ – featuring Gurrumul’s story on ABC TV to a viewing audience of approx 1 million across Australia.
2012 Jun: Gurrumul travelled to New York to complete his 3rd album before performing at the Inaugural World Indigenous Housing Conference in Vancouver, Canada to an international delegation.
2012 Jun: One of only three Australians, Gurrumul participated in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace on June 4, broadcast live on BBC 1, BBC 1 HD and BBC Radio 2 (UK) and to millions around the world and featured Gurrumul positioned next to the Queen on stage for the finale.
2012 Jun: Gary Barlow & Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Diamond Jubilee song ‘Sing’ reaches No. 1 in the UK
2012 Jun: Gurrumul invited to meet and perform for the Governor-General of Australia at the Investiture reception at the Australian High Commissioner’s residence Stoke Lodge, London.
2012 Jun: BBC Documentary “Gary Barlow: On Her Majesty’s Service” of the making of the Diamond Jubilee Song ‘Sing’ featuring Gurrumul aired Sunday 3rd June across the UK to a record viewing audience.
2012 Jun: ‘Bayini’ featuring Sarah Blasko is released in Australia & UK
2012 May: Australia Council awards Gurrumul a two-year Fellowship at the 5th National Indigenous Art Awards for the development of an immersive multi-sensory art installation project.
2012 Mar: Gurrumul travelled to the Blue Mountains to record a chorus of 'Sing', the Diamond Jubilee Song written by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and Take That's Gary Barlow. Barlow travelled around the Commonwealth working with artists including Gurrumul to produce the track, with its successful debut airing on BBC Radio 2 on May 18th.
2012 Mar: Skinnyfish Music announce book deal with ABC Books & Harper Collins
2012 Mar: Gurrumul is announced a finalist for the 2012 Australian Music Prize
2012 Mar: Gurrumul performs at WOMAD New Zealand & WOMADelaide where he was joined on stage by guest artists Mr Barry Morgan; Natalie & Carlo from Blue King Brown, and Lucky Oceans.
2012 Jan: Gurrumul opens the main stage at opening night for the 2012 Sydney Festival to a 50,000 strong audience in the Domain.
2011 Dec: Rrakala finishes at No 6 in the ARIA End of Year Charts – Top 50 Aust. Artists Albums 2011
2011 Dec: Gurrumul performs at Sydney’s ‘Homebake’ Festival featuring special guest Sarah Blasko who joined him in a verse of ‘Bayini’ written and performed in English.
2011 Nov: Gurrumul performs a breathtaking version of ‘Warwu’ with Missy Higgins (also singing in Yolgnu Matha) live at the 25th ARIAs, creating the standout performance of the night.
2011 Nov: Gurrumul performs at a private dinner for the Crown Prince & Princess of Denmark
2011 Nov: Gurrumul performs for US President Barak Obama in front of 1500 servicemen and guests in a secured hangar at Darwin’s RAAF Base
2011 Oct: Debut album Gurrumul is announced TRIPLE PLATINUM status
2011 Oct: Gurrumul invited as the exclusive performer at the official Royal welcome ceremony for HRH The Queen of England and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh at the Great Hall, Parliament House
2011: ARIA Awards;
- World Music Album – Rrakala (Awarded)
- Male Artist of the Year (nomination)
- Album of the Year – Rrakala (nomination)
- Independent Release – Rrakala (nomination)
- Cover Art – Rrakala (nomination - Carlo Santone)
- Video Clip – Gopuru (nomination - Carlo Santone)
2011: A.I.R. Awards;
- Best Blues/Roots album - Rrakala
2011: Deadly Award;
- Album of year for Rrakala
- Male Artist of the year
2011: National Indigenous Music Awards;
- Act of the Year
- Album of year for Rrakala
- Song of the Year for Gathu Mawula with Blue King Brown
- NT DVD / Film Clip of the Year for Gathu Mawula with Blue King Brown
- NT Cover Artwork of the Year for Rrakala
2011 Oct: European / UK Tour and launch of Rrakala
2011 Sep: Rrakala reached No. 14 on the ARIA charts
2011 Aug: First Australian national concert tour
2011 Jul: Rrakala is officially declared GOLD status
2011 Jul: Gopuru film clip released to media
2011 Apr: Rolling Stone Australia features Gurrumul on the cover – ‘Australia’s Most Important Voice’
2011 Apr: Second album Rrakala released (Aust & UK) debuts on ARIA mainstream album chart
2010 Oct: Australian Story segment ‘You’re the Voice’ goes to air on ABC1 and shoots the album back up the charts – No 1 on iTunes over-night.
2010 Aug: Northern Territory Indigenous Music Awards;
- Act of the Year
2010 Jul: ‘Wiyathul’ is featured as a Starbucks pick-of-the-week free download in association with iTunes across the US
2010 Jun: Gurrumul is released in the US
2009 Dec: Duet with Sting on French TV show – Taratata - ‘Every Breath You Take’
2009 Sep: Deadly Awards;
- Male Artist of the year
2009 Aug: Northern Territory Indigenous Music Awards;
- Act of the Year
- Artwork Design of the Year for Gurrumul DDA
2009 Jul: Helpmann Award;
- Best Australian Contemporary Concert
2009 Jun: APRA Award;
- Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year
2009 Jun: Gurrumul is officially declared DOUBLE PLATINUM
2009 May: Skinnyfish announce deal with DRAMATICO UK for Gurrumul
2009 May: Gurrumul performs solo for the first time in the UK at Union Chapel
2009 May: Gurrumul performs live on ‘Later with Jools Holland’ BBC TV, UK
2009 Feb: Gurrumul is released in the UK
2008 Nov: Gurrumul peaks at No. 3 on ARIA album chart and continues to remain in the ARIA for months to follow (of which 59 weeks are consecutive until July 6th 2009)
2008 Nov: ARIA Awards;
- Independent Release (Awarded)
- World Music Album (Awarded)
- Male Artist of the Year (nomination)
- Album of the Year (nomination)
- Producer of the Year (nomination - Michael Hohnen)
2008 Nov: A.I.R Awards;
- Best Independent Album
- Best Emerging Artist
- Best Blues/Roots album category
2008 Nov: Limelight Awards;
- Best World music
- Best Newcomer
2008 Nov: Folk Federation Australia Awards;
- Best Album
2008 Sep: Deadly Awards;
- Single of the year for Wiyathal
- Album of year for Gurrumul
- Artist of the year
2008 Aug: Northern Territory Indigenous Music Awards;
- Act of the Year
- Album of the Year for Gurrumul
- Song of the Year for Wiyathul (track one from self-titled album Gurrumul)
- Artwork of the Year for Gurrumul
2008 Nov: Gurrumul is officially declared PLATINUM status
2008 Oct: Gurrumul is officially declared GOLD status
2008 Jul: Gurrumul enters the ARIA Top 20 at No. 18
2008 Apr: Gurrumul debuts on the ARIA Chart at No. 21
2008 Feb: Debut solo album Gurrumul is released in Australia
2005 Aug: Northern Territory Indigenous Music Awards;
- Male Musician of the Year
1992 Nov: ARIA Awards for Yothu Yindi;
- Best Indigenous Release for Tribal Voice
- Song of the Year for Treaty
- Single of the Year for Treaty, Filthy Lucre Remix
- Engineer of the Year
- Best Cover Art
Musical Background & Discography
1989 – 1992 Member of Yothu Yindi; musician / composer / vocals / songwriter
1991: Tribal Voice
1996: Birrkuta – Wild Honey
1999 – 2011 Member of Saltwater Band; musician / composer / vocals / songwriter
1998: Gapu Damurrung
2004: Djarridjarri/Blue Flag
2008 – present Solo Career; musician / composer / vocals / songwriter / co-producer
2008: The 25th ARIA Awards compilation
2009: Sounds of the Planet - Womad compilation
2010: Remix of Wukun produced by Loverush! UK
2011: Remake of Gathu Mawula Revisited produced by One Rebel (Carlo Santone)
2011: Bayini single featuring Sarah Blasko
2011: Byron Bay Blues Fest compilation
2011: Jane’s Journey Original Soundtrack
2011: When I First Met Your Ma compilation
2012: The Great Australian Songbook compilation
2012: Womad – The World’s Festival compilation
2013: Gurrumul. His Life and Music - compilation of unreleased mixes from first and second album
Links to music and film clips;
‘Warwu’ with Missy Higgins live at the ARIAS 2011
Links to key media:
Gurrumul on The Andrew Marr Show, BBC June 3rd 2012
- NEW RELEASE - Gurrumul and The Sydney Symphony Orchestra ‘HIS LIFE AND MUSIC’ Album available December 6
Gurrumul and The Sydney Symphony Orchestra are thrilled to announce the release of ‘His Life And Music’. Recorded Live at the Sydney Opera House in May 2013 as part of the Vivid Festival, ‘His Life And Music’ captures the artistic spirit of one of the nation’s most extraordinary artists, and will be released physically and digitally on December 6.
The live recording features Gurrumul as you have never heard him before, in a world-first collaboration with The Sydney Symphony Orchestra, performing a collection of songs from his award winning albums. Also included on the album are introductions from Gurrumul’s family that provide a rare insight into the people, the country and the stories behind some of his most popular songs.
Blind from birth, Gurrumul is a member of the Gumatj clan of Elcho Island, off the coast of tropical North East Arnhem Land. He quickly became known for singing about identity, spirit and connection with the land, its elements and his ancestors. Gurrumul first came to attention when he released his eponymous self-titled debut album in 2008, to international acclaim. It sold half a million copies worldwide, reaching triple platinum in Australia earning him fans as diverse and well-known as Elton John, will.i.am and Sting.
“Australia’s most important voice” – Rolling Stone
Gurrumul and The Sydney Symphony Orchestra | “His Life And Music” | Available December 6, 2013
Don't miss "Gurrumul. His Life And Music" concert featuring the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, 8th March Perth - TICKETS ON SALE 9.00am MONDAY 25th NOVEMBER from www.ticketmaster.com.au & 136 100
- Gurrumul to perform with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Perth, 8th March 2014
Chugg Entertainment & Mellen Events announced today that multi-ARIA award-winning Indigenous artist, Gurrumul will perform with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra in Kings Park & Botanic Garden on Saturday, 8 March. His special guests will be Christine Anu and Dewayne Everettsmith.
This extraordinary musical event will present a live account of Gurrumul’s life, voiced through song, film and the storytelling of his people.
Backed by the classical strength of West Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO), Gurrumul will perform new works of simplicity and power from his third studio album, alongside re-arranged and reinterpreted music (orchestrated by Erkki Veltheim) from his previous album releases. Gurrumul and his band will be joined by WASO and multi media narration from clan members of the Northeast Arnhem land. WASO will be conducted by Iain Grandage.
Declared “Australia’s most important voice” by Rolling Stone magazine and recently named at the top of the Australian Financial Review’s Cultural Power list, this blind-born musician hailing from an island off the north coast of Arnhem land, has produced soulful, resonant songs for over two decades. From his time with Yothu Yindi to his celebrated solo release, Gurrumul has been an integral part of our nation’s musical landscape, singing gentle songs of wonder that invoke the stories of his people, the Yolngu, with the powerful spirit of his ancestry.
Affecting and inspiring, ‘Gurrumul – His Life and Music’ is an intimate and unprecedented insight into one of Australia’s most treasured artists. It had its world premiere at the Sydney Opera House in May to standing ovations and 5-star reviews.
“His songs resonated powerfully… there was so much beauty in this concert that it was easy to be moved to tears.” – The Daily Telegraph
“...his performance is immediately magnificent, its impact intensified by a sense of the generous energies involved for such an introverted artist” - The Guardian
“An aunty tells us Gurrumul is special because he was born ‘covered with rainbow’ and, as he begins singing, his voice just lightly caressed by violins, her words are proved true” - Sydney Morning Herald
“The union had the effect of a chemical reaction, sending a glorious explosion of sound towards the Opera House rafters” - The Australian
Christine Anu will be Gurrumul’s special performance guest on the evening, as will emerging singer songwriter Dewayne Everettsmith.
Dewayne has been described as “a uniquely gifted singer with hints of the soul of Marvin Gaye and the sunny beauty of Johhny Nash” (Sydney Morning Herald).
Mellen Events is proudly sponsored by Healthway promoting the Make Smoking History message – and are delighted to deliver all our events smoke free.
Don’t miss this extraordinary evening of spellbinding talent.
TICKETS ON SALE
9.00am MONDAY 25th NOVEMBER
From www.ticketmaster.com.au & 136 100
For Media Information:
Rosita Stangl 08-9367 8884 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos courtesy of Prudence Upton - Sydney Opera House concert of 'Gurrumul. His Life and Music' featuring the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, May 2013.
- Gurrumul Tops Cultural Power List: Unveils The Gurrumul Yunupingu Foundation
Named today at the top of the Australian Financial Review’s Cultural Power list, Gurrumul Yunupingu has officially launched the Gurrumul Yunupingu Foundation.
Gurrumul Yunupingu is an internationally recognised singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist who is a powerful role model for young Indigenous people. Adding to a long list of incredible career achievements, he has now fostered the development of a foundation that will continue supporting a legacy of Aboriginal knowledge, achievement and opportunity.
The Gurrumul Yunupingu Foundation’s vision is to provide indigenous youth (particularly those in remote communities) with opportunities to participate and achieve success. It will fulfill its goals through supporting activities that target young people, assisting them to discover and build on their strengths, develop greater personal skills, and deliver meaningful and relevant opportunities - helping to find pride and place as future leaders in their communities. Building on the strength of traditional culture, artistic skill and love of sport, Gurrumul’s foundation looks to support programs in these areas over a sustained period of time.
The Foundation was conceived by Gurrumul while overseas in early 2012.
“Gurrumul came to us when we were in the US in early 2012 and wanted to discuss his idea,” said friend, musical collaborator and foundation board member Michael Hohnen. “In the previous twelve months we’d released his second platinum album, met the Queen, toured the world and were soon to perform for and meet Barack Obama. Gurrumul questioned us on why he had these opportunities while so many Yolngu struggled to find a quality path in mainstream life.”
The first pledge of support for the Foundation has come from Delta Goodrem, musicians of the Sydney Symphony and Gurrumul himself who collaborated to perform and record ‘Bayini Live’ on ‘The Voice’ earlier this year. The single ‘Bayini Live’ was the first top five hit ever in an Indigenous language and all proceeds from downloads are donated to the Gurrumul Yunupingu Foundation.
The Gurrumul Yunupingu Foundation is planning launch activities to be held around Australia in early 2014 but is now open for business and welcoming founding philanthropic supporters.
To donate visit: www.gurrumulfoundation.org.au/donate
For more information, contact Executive Officer Penelope Arrow on email@example.com or 08 8941 9066
Purchase your copy of Bayini Live and support the Foundation on iTunes.
- Gurrumul Releases Maralitja – A Tribute To Yothu Yindi
On the eve of the National Indigenous Music Awards, national treasure Gurrumul Yunupingu is releasing a new single ‘Maralitja – A Tribute To Yothu Yindi” 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.
MARALITJA – A TRIBUTE TO YOTHU YINDI IS RELEASED THROUGH ITUNES ON AUGUST 9 THROUGH SKINNYFISH MUSIC
GURRUMUL PERFORMS AT THE NATIONAL INDIGENOUS MUSIC AWARDS THIS SATURDAY NIGHT IN DARWIN