Gur­ru­mul’s good­bye gift

Herald Sun - Hit - - MUSIC - With CAMERON ADAMS



Gur­ru­mul Yunupingu’s posthu­mous al­bum ar­rives ahead of a doc­u­men­tary on his amaz­ing life and ca­reer out later this month.

His fam­ily have given per­mis­sion for his name and im­age to be used again to “en­sure his legacy will con­tinue to in­spire his peo­ple and Aus­tralians more broadly”.

It’s now 10 years since his self-ti­tled de­but reached No.3.

Djarimirri (or Child of the Rain­bow) had been four years in the mak­ing and was fin­ished weeks be­fore his death last July.

This is an in­tense, emo­tional state­ment. Clearly in­spired by his live work with the Syd­ney Sym­phony Orches­tra (cap­tured on a 2013 live al­bum), it’s a mod­ern clas­si­cal work with se­ri­ously tra­di­tional themes.

Each work is a tra­di­tional Yol­ngu song or chant with the mu­si­cians — pro­ducer Michael Hohnen, ar­ranger Erkki Veltheim and mem­bers of the SSO and Aus­tralian Cham­ber Orches­tra — cre­at­ing an ethe­real sound­scape.

Some­times it’s gor­geous and up­lift­ing as the strings dance around (Waak), other times it’s deeply min­i­mal and moody.

The ti­tle track re­calls the ex­per­i­men­tal clas­si­cal work by Brian Eno or Phillip Glass — these aren’t just strings tacked on, the at­ten­tion to de­tail is as­tound­ing. They in­di­cate ten­sion (Dji­lawurr) or majesty (Djapana) or a haunt­ing melody on Djolin.

The tra­di­tional sounds are in­cred­i­bly stir­ring on mo­ments such as Ga­liku (the mu­si­cians some­times trans­late didgeri­doo pat­terns by us­ing in­stru­ments such as cel­los) and ob­vi­ously it’s all about re­mem­ber­ing that mag­i­cal, un­mis­take­able voice one fi­nal time.

This is an epic lis­ten­ing ex­pe­ri­ence on ev­ery level and a very spe­cial way to re­mem­ber an in­cred­i­ble per­former.

VER­DICT A part­ing gift to the world

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