Music Break: Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu

February 1, 2013

After hearing his music, incongruously, on a video of Greenland history, I had to Wiki this guy:

Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu (born 1970) is an Indigenous Australian musician, who sings in the Yolngu language.

He was born in Galiwin’ku (Elcho Island), off the coast of Arnhem LandNorthern Australia about 580 kilometres from Darwin. He is from the Gumatj clan of the Yolngu and his mother from the Galpu nation.[1] He was born blind, has never learned Braille and does not have a guide dog or use a white cane. Yunupingu speaks only a few words of English, and is said to be acutely shy.[2]

He plays drums, keyboards, guitar (a right hand-strung guitar 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 Matha) and English.[3] Formerly with Yothu Yindi, he is now with Saltwater Band.

For a bonus, hear this duet with Sting, below.

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10 Responses to “Music Break: Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu”


  1. Thanks for posting this Peter. Geoffrey Yunapingu is one of those rare talents who doesn’t get the recognition he deserves.

  2. rayduray Says:

    Foli in the Makinke languauge means “rythm”….

    “Life has a rhythm, it’s constantly moving.
    The word for rhythm ( used by the Malinke tribes ) is FOLI.
    It is a word that encompasses so much more than drumming, dancing or sound.”

  3. rayduray Says:

    Malian singer Rokia Traoré performing at the WOMAD World music festival:

  4. rayduray Says:

    Another Aussie whose music I dearly love:

  5. astrostevo Says:

    I am Australian :

    Not an First Indigenous Australian, a naturalised citizen but, yeah this.

    Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu : A legend and a bloody bewdy! (Ocker – YES!!!)

    (Oh yegods don’t tempt me to post so many other great Aussie un-official anthemns from Midnight Oils (so many songs) to Goanna’s ‘Solid rock’ and more!)

    • astrostevo Says:

      Cannot resist the temptation :

      Solid Rock Goanna

      &

      One Country – Oils.

      Great Southern Land – Icehouse

      • astrostevo Says:

        This one :

        Midnight Oil & Warumpi – Blackfella-Whitefella & Dead Heart seems particularly apt here too.

        Plus :

        Yothu Yindi- “Tribal Voice” in addition to :

        Midnight Oil – Beds Are Burning – Oils.

        PS. Greenman – have you read David Suzuki’s ‘Wisdom of the Elders’ book?


  6. Gracious people, there’s a week’s listening from just one post. Fabulous!


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