Aussie Rolling Stone mag 50 Greatest Australian Artists of All Time #33: Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu

by Ziggy Ramo:

My name is Ziggy Ramo Burrmuruk Fatnowna. I am a Wik man, however we grew up in Gapuwiyak. My parents were adopted into the Yonlgu kinship system, so my siblings and I were born into it. Burrmuruk is my Yolngu name given to me by my Momu (grandmother). When someone dies in Yolngu culture you do not say their name. Since this artist has passed away I won’t refer to his name while I write this.

Where do you even begin? How is it possible to capture the importance of his art? Music flowed through him, it is undeniable. Personally when I listen to his music I feel at home. I am reminded of my childhood, reminded of family and what it feels to be in Yolngu country. His music is a gift. The fact that this sacred language and culture is shared with those who tried to destroy it is not lost on me.

I feel that I am not able to capture the importance of his music in written words. We come from an oral culture. I think we all feel that when we listen to his music. His voice speaks to 60,000 years of knowledge, culture, tradition, love, strength, pain and so much more. He is truly a transcendent artist. I remember reading that he only created music when he was inspired. Every song in its truest sense is an authentic expression. It is authentic, not just because of the languages it is in but because it is him completely. You feel his soul in every note, in every chord, in every second of his art.

He makes me proud, his music is truly profound. However, I experience a deep sadness when I listen to his music. Australian Indigenous culture is not homogenous. There were over 500 languages spoken here. His ability to sing and create art in his own languages should not be rare, but unfortunately it is. Indigenous language, culture and knowledge is not valued in this country. His music demonstrates how wrong that is.

Regardless of your ability to understand Yolngu Matha, you can feel his spirit. He is a rare artist but growing up in Yolngu country I heard amazing voices and songs throughout ceremonies. Not only Yonlgu people, but all Indigenous Australians are some of the most talented people in the world. We just need to be given a chance.

His music inspires me. It makes me proud to be Indigenous. His voice had an ability to cut through everything. I don’t think I have processed the fact he is no longer with us. I will forever be grateful for the music he has left behind. Music is a universal language but no one has ever spoken it like him. I am not sure if anyone ever will. I think his art is a portal to what Australia could be. A country proud of all of our history. He will be an important artist now and forever.

Outro: I’ve embedding Gurrumul last or final or posthumously album Djarimirri (subtitled Child of the Rainbow) of 2018 the very top of the post at the top of this post and then it’s Ziggy Ramo’s Black Face video clip just above!

Once again, apologises to them but I’ve skipped a couple from RS countdown which was #35 Helen Reddy but here’s I Am Woman:

and #34 Troye Sivan which maybe I shouldn’t admit, I really haven’t a clue who that is at all? Seems to be a big huge pop star I’ve never heard off before right now so found a song called 1999 by Charli XCX & Troye Sivan because well, I do love the 90’s too but I don’t think, I’ve say that before?

Cheers 🙂



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