Gurrumul’s album Djarimirri is first Indigenous-language chart-topper

Gurrumul’s album Djarimirri is first Indigenous-language chart-topper


Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu’s “final message” has echoed from his beloved Yolngu country to the top of the Australian music charts – his posthumous final album now the first Indigenous-language release to be the nation’s bestselling album.

The album, Djarimirri (Child of the Rainbow), a selection of songs recorded over more than four years, was released nine months after Gurrumul’s death.

Gurrumul’s daughter Jasmine Yunupingu paid tribute to her father’s achievement. “I would like to give a speech on behalf of my family and myself, to my father’s achievement that he has had a great career,” she said. “For sharing our culture through his music. That he will remain in our hearts together.”

The record is an unlikely Aria chart-topper, featuring traditional songs in the Yolngu language, with orchestral arrangements from the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

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Gurrumul’s long-time producer, collaborator and friend Michael Hohnen spoke earlier this month about the album’s genesis.

“Last year we sat and listened to these recordings over and over again, from beginning to end and piece by piece, pulling them apart and putting them back together until all elements shone,” Hohnen said.

“We had finished the incredible process, preparing to release it and then we lost him.

Djarimirri (Child of the Rainbow) by Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu.

Djarimirri (Child of the Rainbow) by Gurrumul.

“We had played many of the pieces live over the past few years of touring and planned how the pieces would work before we recorded them in the studio. He was immensely proud of what we achieved on this album and it is an emotional experience for all of us to present this final enormous chapter in his story with this musical statement.”

Hohnen said on Sunday, on confirmation the album had gone to number one, that Djarimirri (Child of the Rainbow) was “a testament to this great Australian and his family, all Yolngu and the greater Aboriginal population”

“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.

“This is something we can all be proud of and we know that the support of the many people who have bought this album in the last week will be rewarded through the depth of cultural discovery that will unfold on repeated listens.”

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