Singer-songwriter Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu will release his eponymous solo debut album Gurrumul via Dramatico Entertainment on June 15. Gurrumul is the first indigenous Australian solo artist to breakthrough to the mainstream with audiences and critics responding passionately to the album.
Gurrumul went double-platinum, earned exceptional reviews and four ARIA Award nominations (including the coveted Male Artist of the Year and Album of the Year). A stunning collection of 12 songs, Gurrumul emphasizes the importance of ancestry, country and land.
The Northern Territory native, blind from birth, grew up as a member of the Gumatj clan on Elcho Island, off the coast of tropical North East Arnhem Land. In his culture, the elders are the spokespersons for the clan. But the self-effacing Gurrumul, as he likes to be known, doesn't have to say anything at all; the songs on his self-titled debut speak volumes. As the Sydney Morning Herald declared, when Gurrumul was first released in Australia, "There is something so timeless and so direct, it is impossible to remain unmoved. It is as though Yunupingu has reached into a wellspring so deep it transcends cultural barriers...This is not just a very good record, it is one of the greatest records ever made by a local indigenous musician."
In the United Kingdom, where the album was released last year, Gurrumul made his UK TV debut on Later with Jools Holland, claimed the top of the world music charts and graced the cover of Songlines Magazine. Three singles were added to the BBC Radio 2 playlist, "Bapa," a poignant lament for his late father, "Wiyathul" and "Gurrumul History (I Was Born Blind)"; only six non-English language tracks had previously been featured in the playlist in the last ten years. Gurrumul was also named one of the top ten world-music releases of 2009 by the BBC.
Mainland Europe was equally enthralled. Gurrumul's debut achieved best-selling world music status in Germany and Switzerland; he performed a gorgeous live acoustic duet of the Police's "Every Breath You Take" with Sting on French television, translating the lyrics into Gumatj and sweetly stealing the show. Elton John asked Gurrumul to open the veteran artist's dates at the Sydney Opera House.
A live show not to be missed, Gurrumul will be announcing US tour dates soon.