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Gurrumul Yunupingu

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Australia has produced very few, if any, popular singers of such extraordinary talent that their voices seem to be a gift from the gods.

Not until now.

Listen to Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu as he sings in Galpu, Djambarrpuynu, Gumatj - and, occasionally, in English - and you will instantly surrender to the greatest voice this continent has ever recorded.

Blind from birth, he is not an Aboriginal musician singing protest songs against a rock, reggae or folk-country backing. Rather he is a deeply traditional man with the voice of an angel singing of his love of country ( Wiyathul, Galiku), his deep spiritual connection with the land ( Djarimirri, Marrandil), the death of his father ( Bapa), the difficulties of being born blind - which he sings in a mixture of local language and English ( Gurrumul History) - and the importance to his life of continuity and his ancestors. The backing is sparse and simple.

This is, by any measure, an extraordinary album. Yunupingu has a voice which is so beautiful and so emotion-laden that it invests every song with a passion and pathos which are quite overwhelming. Non-Elcho Island listeners (which, obviously, is most of us) cannot understand the meaning of the songs - which are not only obscured by language but also, even in translation, far beyond the frame of reference of modern city dwellers.

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