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A Journey through Aesthetic Realms

Dr. G. Yunupingu – Rainbow Child of the Australian Indigenous People

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Elcho Island, traditionally known as Galiwin'ku, is an island off the coast of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory of Australia. Galiwin'ku is also the name of the island’s largest aboriginal settlement with about 2,000 residents. This island is home to the legendary artist, Dr. G. Yunupingu, one of Australia’s most successful international musicians. Singing in several Yolngu languages as well as in English, telling stories about his land, Dr. Yunupingu’s mixture of traditional songs with modern compositions added a unique perspective to indigenous music.

Commonly known as Gurrumul, Dr. G. Yunupingu was born as Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu. He was conferred the honorary doctorate degree in 2012 by the University of Sydney. “I was born blind, and I don't know why. God knows why, because He loves me so. As I grew up, my spirit knew. Then I learnt to read the world of destruction. United we stand, divided we fall, together we'll stand, in solidarity.” “Gurrumul History (I was Born Blind)” is a song of mixed English and Yolngu Matha language in which Dr. Yunupingu shared an incredible story about himself.

Dr. Yunupingu often shied away from the limelight and seldom granted any interviews as he preferred to allow his music to do the talking. He once said: "I don't have much to say to people when I talk. That is for other Yolŋu (people). But I can play and sing and tell people things through my songs."

The documentary, “Gurrumul,” was released two weeks after debuting “Djarimirri.” It was co-produced by filmmaker Paul Williams and the brilliant musician himself. The documentary was screened around the globe and won the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards for best documentary, reflecting a wide international appreciation for Gurrumul’s story and songs. The Gurrumul Yunupingu Foundation was established in 2013 for the purpose of engaging and supporting young Indigenous Australians, especially those in remote communities, to realize their full potential and offer them hope for the future through long-term programs and activities.

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