GURRUMUL

Djarim­irri (Child Of The Rain­bow) SKINNYFISH / MGM

Australian Guitar - - Cd Reviews - MATT DO­RIA

“Third time’s the charm,” or so the adage goes. But for an artist that’s never re­ally had a slip-up to be­gin with, it’s Gurrumul’s post­hu­mous fourth al­bum that sees him reach a true peak in mu­si­cal prow­ess. Four years in the mak­ing and com­pleted less than a month be­fore his tragic pass­ing, Djarim­irri (Child Of The Rain­bow) is haunt­ingly beau­ti­ful, show­cas­ing not just an am­bi­tious tri­umph in un­com­pro­mis­ing de­vo­tion, but a life­time of ac­cu­mu­lated tal­ent.

It doesn’t feel as much like an al­bum as it does an event – largely trad­ing his sig­na­ture acous­tics for a grandiose or­ches­tral sound­scape, Gurrumul em­braces the­atri­cal­ity on Djarim­irri, pulling the lis­tener into a whirl­wind of emo­tions. Goose­bumps are in­evitable with ev­ery glit­ter­ing pluck of a cello, ev­ery sub­tle hit of per­cus­sion and strik­ing, im­pas­sioned chant.

There’s a con­trast be­tween the bright strings and horns, and the bold tra­di­tional chants (sung in Gurrumul’s na­tive lan­guage) that build the al­bum’s vo­cal el­e­ment. Such a con­trast is con­sis­tently breath­tak­ing, the force­ful­ness of Gurrumul’s voice meld­ing har­mo­niously with his dreamy orches­tra back­ing. Along­side the ti­tle track, a stand­out cut is the ad­ven­tur­ous “Gop­uru (Tuna Swim­ming)”. But of course, the al­bum is best con­sumed in one ded­i­cated, un­bro­ken lis­ten from start to end.

At a lengthy, yet un­fal­ter­ingly cap­ti­vat­ing 71 min­utes, Gurrumul’s spirit lives on in­tensely through Djarim­irri. It’s a true mas­ter­piece in ev­ery sense of the word, and a pow­er­ful adieu from one of Aus­tralia’s most unapolo­get­i­cally au­then­tic mu­si­cians. Rest in power, mate.

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