Gurrumul makes chart history with an ARIA #1 debut
Northern Territory-based singer-songwriter Dr G Yunupingu, who in his life set a new record as the biggest selling Australian Indigenous act, has made chart history nine months after his death.
His posthumous album Djarimirri (Child Of The Rainbow) has debuted at #1 on the ARIA Album chart.
This is the first chart topper for the singer-songwriter, and the first time in history that an album recorded completely in language has reached top spot on the ARIA chart.
Michael Hohnen, Gurrumul’s producer, collaborator, close friend and Skinnyfish Music label exec, told TMN, “This feels like a historical moment.
“It feels much more significant than just the most sales in one week.
“We feel like the music industry and a lot of the general population in Australia is behind this album for many reasons.
“Imagine releasing an album with no beats and no pop chordal structures and no normal form. And no English.
“There are many people behind this record including the 10,000 Yolngu speakers in North East Arnhem Land who can now hold their heads high in legitimate pride.
“Mark (T. Grose) and I, as a tiny label in the Northern Territory are in disbelief, pride and gratitude, especially in the bittersweet time that it is.”
Hohnen believes that those who bought the record will be rewarded through repeated listening by going on a discovery of Gurrumul’s culture.
Gurrumul’s family also issued a public statement on today’s achievement.
His daughter Jasmine Yunupingu stated: “Hello everyone. I would like to give a speech on behalf of my family and myself, to my father’s achievement that he has done a great career.
“For sharing our culture through his music. That he will remain in our hearts together.”
Since the album’s release, fellow artists as John Butler, Briggs, Sarah Blasko and Delta Goodrem have articulated the record’s achievements.
Briggs told the Sydney Morning Herald, “This last record is testament to him transcending genre and transcending what’s expected of an Indigenous artist.
“This album is an orchestral piece, so it’s sheet music.
“It could be read by a conductor or composer in Germany and they’d understand it.
“It transcends cultural barriers, because music is an international language. Anyone will be able to read this, and translate it, and play it.
“Even in his death, he’s transcended genres and cultural barriers.
“Him and Michael, they’ve delivered this gift of music.”
In the same piece, his niece, Miriam Yirrininba Dhurrkay, recounted how Gurrumul’s life and music are still inspiring the next generation of Yolngu people.
“A lot of youngsters in the north-east Arnhem Land region, where G comes from, and other youngsters from all around NT, from every Aboriginal community, a lot of youngsters are doing music today.
“Most of the young people I know, they want to continue his legacy, they want to show the world that they can do it. If he can do it, why can’t we do it, you know?”