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Gurrumul Yunupingu's Final Album Becomes the First Indigenous-Language Release to Top the Australian Charts

Already Australia's highest-selling Indigenous artist, the music icon has once again made history.
By Sarah Ward
April 22, 2018
By Sarah Ward
April 22, 2018

Nine months after Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu's passing, the Indigenous musician has posthumously achieved a historic feat with his final album. Released this week, Djarimirri (Child of the Rainbow) now sits at the top of the Australian charts, becoming the first record in an Indigenous language to do so.

A project that took over four years to come to fruition — and was completed only weeks before Yunupingu's death — Djarimirri  presents 12 traditional Yolngu songs and harmonised chants with orchestral arrangements, with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Sydney Symphony Orchestra providing the latter.

"This album is a testament to this great Australian and his family, all Yolngu and the greater Aboriginal population," said Skinnyfish Music's Michael Hohnen, Yunupingu's friend, collaborator and producer. "The history he has made taking a true Australian language and heritage to number one proves the strength of the underlying cultural identity of this nation."

Born blind on Elcho Island off the coast of Arnhem Land, Yunupingu was already Australia's highest-selling Indigenous artist before Djarimirri's release. His three previous studio albums — 2008's Gurrumul, 2011's Rrakala and 2015's The Gospel Album — all peaked at third position on the ARIA album charts, with Gurrumul earning triple-platinum status and Rrakala also going platinum.

A documentary about Yunupingu's life, which premiered at last year's Melbourne International Film Festival and also screened at this year's Berlinale, opens in Australian cinemas on April 25.

Image: 6 Seasons Productions.

Published on April 22, 2018 by Sarah Ward
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