Sunday, October 17, 2021

Nguura - Maanyung & Headland

 “Begin” by Brendan Kennelly

“…bridges linking the past and future / old friends passing through with us still.”With the beginning of the school year, new interns, and an exciting new season in the publishing industry, we’re eager to see what’s ahead.  Therefore, here’s Brendan Kennelly’s poem “Begin” for your enjoyment this week.


Begin again to the summoning birds
to the sight of the light at the window,
begin to the roar of morning traffic
all along Pembroke Road.
Every beginning is a promise
born in light and dying in dark
determination and exaltation of springtime
flowering the way to work.
Begin to the pageant of queuing girls
the arrogant loneliness of swans in the canal
bridges linking the past and future
old friends passing though with us still.
Begin to the loneliness that cannot end
since it perhaps is what makes us begin,
begin to wonder at unknown faces
at crying birds in the sudden rain
at branches stark in the willing sunlight
at seagulls foraging for bread
at couples sharing a sunny secret
alone together while making good.
Though we live in a world that dreams of ending
that always seems about to give in
something that will not acknowledge conclusion
insists that we forever begin.

— From The Essential Brendan Kennelly

This song brought many memories of Gurrumul  …

Nguura - Maanyung & Headland

Dr G Yunupingu: Djarimirri (Child of the Rainbow)

To eyewitness Gurrumul sing live is (was) an unforgettable experience - malchkeons were truly moved to tears. And tonight at the documentary screening same emotional outburst took place inside and even at the set of traffic lights outside the cinema where two girls were comforting a friend who was still sobbing ...

It's hard to describe what makes Gurrumul's songs so heart-wrenchingly beautiful. Perhaps it was the footage of toddlers with tapping sticks mimicking their elders, or an old man chanting ecstatically with eyes closed, or the simple melodies unfolding so slowly it made your breathing slow down. Something in this man's spirit connected - as he has all over the world - to the people and the land in every corner of this divided world. His dignity and innocence are best epitomised in lyrics from Gurrumul History: "I was born blind, I don't know why/ God knows why, He loves me so."
Young Gurrumul
I was born blind and I don't know why
God knows why because he love me so
As I grew up, my spirit knew
Then I learnt to read the world of destruction

United we stand, divided we fall
Together we'll stand, in solidarity

Ŋarranydja dhuwala Batumaŋ
ŋarranydja dhuwala Djarrami
ŋarranydja dhuwala Djeŋarra'
ŋarranydja dhuwala Gurrumulŋa
M, m

I heard my mama and my papa
Crying their hearts in confusion
How can I walk? Straight and tall
In society please hold my hand

Trying to bridge and build Yolŋu culture
I've been to New York, I've been to LA
I've been to London
ŋarranydja Gurrumul

United we stand, divided we fall
Together we'll stand, in solidarity

Ŋarranydja dhuwala Barrupa
ŋarranydja dhuwala Dhukuḻuḻ
ŋarranydja dhuwala Maralitja
ŋarranydja dhuwala Ŋunbuŋunbu

Y, e, wo wäŋawu Garrapala
Dhamutjpirr, Dhamuŋura

The soulful, high tenor voice of the singer and guitarist Dr G Yunupingu, who has died aged 46, brought him international celebrity, even though he mostly sang in the Australian Aboriginal languages of Gumatj, Galpu and Djambarrpuynu. He performed at concert halls around the world, sang for the Queen and for Barack Obama, and was hailed by Rolling Stone magazine as “Australia’s most important voice”. His bestselling albums achieved triple platinum status.

Yunupingu showed his unique appeal at his debut solo London concert in May 2009, when he was still little known in the UK. He sat motionless throughout, singing and playing the acoustic guitar, backed by a string quartet and the double bass work of his friend, producer and manager Michael Hohnen. He said nothing, apart from a final “Thank you”, but dominated the hall with his gently powerful and heartfelt singing. His melodies were straightforward, powerful and accessible, with their blend of folk, soul and gospel influences, along with a dash of reggae, and his poetic lyrics dealt with nature or his ancestors.

He started the performance with Wiyathul, a song that explaining the importance of the orange-footed scrubfowl to the Gumatj nation, and ended with a highly personal song in English, I Was Born Blind. Afterwards, he sat in the dressing room, still not speaking. “He won’t talk,” explained Hohnen, “but I can feel that he’s happy.” It was clear that he would become a world music celebrity.

Yunupingu was born blind, in Galiwin’ku on Elcho Island, off the coast of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, and was a member of the Gumatj clan of the Yolngu people. The first of four sons born to Ganyinurra (Daisy) and Nyambi (Terry) Yunupingu, he became fascinated by music as a child. Following local custom, his aunts Dorothy, Anne and Susan all played a major role in looking after him, and sang him hymns they had learned at the local Methodist mission.

Later, Yunupingu joined the mission choir, and began singing standard hymns – Amazing Grace, The Old Rugged Cross or To Be a Pilgrim. He was a fan of western pop, particularly the songs of Dire Straits, Cliff Richard and Stevie Wonder, but these were matched against other, more ancient influences – the beliefs, customs and songs of his people. In later life his often spiritual compositions would blend western musical influences with lyrics that dealt with clan traditions and beliefs.

Gurrumul was born blind, but it didn’t hold him back: as a young boy, he would ride his bike down Elcho’s famously steep hill, with family members lining the road yelling: “Go left! Right! Watch the pot holes!”

Writing of Gurrumul’s performance with Sting in France 2010, Robert Hillman said: “The Gumatj language, the sacred repository of a culture and history older by far than that of France or any country in Europe, older than the entirety of Western civilisation, [was] about to be plaited with the younger, mongrel language of English.”
But mixed up with Hillman’s sublime observations of language and culture are light-hearted sketches of Gurrumul, down-to-earth, irreverent, utterly uninterested in fame.

Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, also referred to since his death as Dr G Yunupingu, was an Indigenous Australian musician. Dr G Yunupingu

Gurrumul review – stirring and soulful ode to Australia's most important voice | Film | The Guardian
Gurrumul — Skinnyfish Music

Gurrumul Yunupingu album is first in Indigenous language to top Australian charts 

Gurrumul's posthumous album first to top charts in Indigenous language 

Gurrumul album Djarimirri (Child of the Rainbow) tops ARIA charts on debut, makes history 
Gurrumul Album Djarimirri Debuts At #1 On ARIA Charts 

Gurrumul - Official Trailer 

Gurrumul documentary to debut at Berlin film festival – watch the trailer | Film | The Guardian

Gurrumul is a film for everyone, just as his music is: it is a film about triumph over adversity and the existence of hope in tragedy. It provides a glimpse of how respect for Indigenous culture may lead to a renewed relationship between the non-Indigenous and Indigenous Australians, something which can only come from a true recognition, understanding and valuing of Indigenous people and culture.

It depicted the extraordinary creative life of Geoffrey GurrumulYunupingu, who had released three solo albums before he died at the age of 46 from liver and kidney diseases less than a month earlier.

Gurrumul (2017) - Rotten Tomatoes

Gurrumul documentary reivew: film traces his amazing life 
Gurrumul and Mayirri Gurruwiwi 
Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu – Gurrumul History (I Was Born Blind) Lyrics | Genius Lyrics

Dr G Yunupingu: Indigenous musician found 'wasted away', friend says 'we owed him better' 

Google Compilation on the Genius Gurrumul 

Dr G Yunupingu - Facebook


* Yunupingu is survived by his daughter, Jasmine. 
• Dr G Yunupingu singer, songwriter and musician, born 22 January 1971; died 25 July 2017

CODA: Bhadu means water - river - in Darkinjung dialect ...