About Gurrumul


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, 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 biographyGurrumul. 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

1993:  Freedom

1996:  Birrkuta – Wild Honey

2000:  Garma

1999 – 2011 Member of Saltwater Band; musician / composer / vocals / songwriter

1998: Gapu Damurrung

2004:  Djarridjarri/Blue Flag

2010:  Malk

2008 – present Solo Career; musician / composer / vocals / songwriter / co-producer

2008:  Gurrumul

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:  Rrakala

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;

Bayini’ (Live) featuring Delta Goodrem 2013

Click here

‘A Baru in New York’ (Flume Remix) 2013

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‘A Baru in New York’ (Yolanda Be Cool feat. Gurrumul) Music Video 2013

Click Here

Official Film Clip to ‘Sing’ May 2012

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‘Warwu’ with Missy Higgins live at the ARIAS 2011

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‘Gopuru’ Film Clip 2011

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Gathu Mawula Revisited Film Clip feat. Blue King Brown 2010

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Sting & Gurrumul perform ‘Every Breath You Take’ for Taratata (France) 2009

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‘Bapa’ live at the ARIAS 2008

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‘Wiyathul’ live at the Enmore 2008

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Links to key media:

Governor General’s speech for Gurrumul at Stoke Lodge, June 4th 2012

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Gurrumul on BBC Breakfast TV, June 1st 2012

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Gurrumul on The Andrew Marr Show, BBC June 3rd 2012

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Gary Barlow and the Commonwealth Band (feat. Gurrumul) perform ‘Sing’ live at the Diamond Jubilee June 4th 2012

Click here

Gurrumul’s Honorary Doctorate announced: ABC News Online May 2012

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Gurrumul features on the Cover of the Rolling Stone as “Australia’s Most Important Voice’ 2010

Click here


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