A freelance writer and traveller who likes to explore the spiritual, literary and hidden gems of Adelaide and beyond.
Published August 18th 2015
The Gospel according to Gurrumul
Gurrumul has just released a sublimely beautiful collection of music inspired by the gospel. It is sung almost entirely in Yolngu language, which is Gurrumul's native language from Elcho Island, Galiwin'ku. Gurrumul sings these gospel songs and despite my not understanding the words, the spirituality of the songs comes forth. A mystery place of beauty and sadness.
Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu – Brief biography Gurrumul was born in 1970 at Elcho Island, off the coast of Arnhem Land, Northern Australia about 580 kilometres from Darwin. He was born blind, has never learned Braille and does not have a guide dog or use a white cane. He sings stories of his land in both languages (Gälpu, Gumatj or Djambarrpuynu, all Yolŋu Matha) and English. He was formerly with the band Yothu Yindi.
By Claytronica (Own work) [Public domain
It seems a translation is not required to hear the clarity of his voice and feel the praise and laments to God on the gospel album. Stories of human frailty done so beautifully and soulful. Gurrumul has long received praise for his exceptional voice. It seems to hail from the ancient lands and times. It is strange, baffling and uplifting all at once. Here is emotion and stories from the past melded into songs about land and spirit.
The Gospel CD leads off with the plaintiff Jesu and Trinity and finishes with the old standard Amazing Grace done as a duet with Paul Kelly. The journey in between is mystical and very reflective and restful. If you haven't experienced the voice of Gurrumul this CD is an invitation. He has recently finished an Australian tour and gone home to Galiwin'ku. This album debuted on the charts at number three and is available in all good stores or online. He also has a Facebook page.