The music will live on
THE world will soon hear new music from the late Dr G Yunupingu, Australia’s most prominent Aboriginal musician.
The nation is mourning the loss of the 46- year- old singer, who died of a heart attack in a Darwin hospital on Tuesday after a long battle with liver and kidney disease.
Mark Grose, the managing director of Dr Yunupingu’s record label, says the blind Yolngu artist from Elcho Island, off the coast of Arnhem Land, had finished recording a new album before he died.
The new music forms part of a documentary about Dr Yunupingu’s life which will premiere next month at the Melbourne Film Festival, he told ABC. “There is more music, there’s no doubt about that,” Mr Grose said. “We’ve got at least one or two albums.” Mr Grose praised the “genius” composer as one of the most important figures in the country’s music history. The notoriously shy Gumatj clan member from the Northern Territory’s Galiwin’ku community had an ability to bridge cultures, touching the hearts of millions while singing in his native tongue. He overcame many barriers to help mainstream society see the beauty of the world’s oldest living culture while becoming the highest- selling indigenous artist in history.
The former Yothu Yindi band member first picked up a guitar at age six, learning to play it upside down as he was left handed.
Since then the self- taught artist traversed countless styles and instruments in his collaborations, melding his traditional sound with anything from classical music to rap, while performing alongside the likes of Elton John and Sting. The multi award- winner sold more than half a million albums and performed for the Pope, the Queen, and former US president Barack Obama.
Mr Grose said the ethereal tones on Dr Yunupingu’s debut 2008 solo album resonated with people who had lost loved ones, were dying themselves or had just been born.
“It certainly calms children, I can’t explain it,” he said.
“It’s honest music, it’s heartfelt, it’s straight from a culture that has deep beauty and has something in it that us white fellas don’t understand.”
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