Yolŋu songman and music legend Gurrumul inducted into musical hall of fame

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Yolŋu songman and music legend Gurrumul inducted into musical hall of fame

The National Indigenous Music Awards are paying tribute to Australian music legend Gurrumul.

Internationally acclaimed Yolngu singer and songwriter Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, best-known as Gurrumul, will be inducted into the National Indigenous Music Awards (NIMAs) hall of fame in Darwin this weekend.

The groundbreaking songman passed away in July of 2017, aged 46. Blind from birth, Gurrumul was a brilliant Yolngu multi-instrumentalist with a captivating voice who bought the north-eastern Arnhem Land languages of Gaalpu, Gumatj and Djambarrpuynu to the ears of millions.

Having recorded and performed with Yothu Yindi and Saltwater Band, he also released three solo albums in his lifetime – 2008’s ‘Gurrumul’, 2011’s ‘Rrakala’ and 2015’s ‘The Gospel Album’ – all of which won ARIA Awards.

In 2018, the songwriter’s first posthumous album, ‘Djarimirri (Child of the Rainbow)’, was released. It was nominated for seven ARIA Awards, winning four. In 2021, a posthumous compilation album of Gurrumul’s music, titled ‘The Gurrumul Story’, was also released.

Keep up with the latest music news, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

Gurrumul will be formally inducted into the NIMA Hall Of Fame on Saturday night with a special performance from Manuel Dhurrkay, where he will join previous inductees including Warumpi Band, Archie Roach, Roger Knox, Kev Carmody and his former band Yothu Yindi.

Gurrumul’s legacy will be also be honoured this Thursday with the first Darwin performance of his critically acclaimed ‘Buŋgul’, a live celebration featuring the Darwin Symphony Orchestra. The event will commemorate his life, culture and final masterpiece ‘Djarimirri (Child Of The Rainbow)’ which was the first album in an Indigenous language to chart at #1.

Gurrumul’s induction will also be celebrated with an exhibit at Melbourne’s Australian Music Vault from this Friday with an essay penned by award-winning journalist Tracee Hutchison available here.

This will be the first live National Indigenous Music Awards since 2019. Hosted by the inimitable Steven Oliver, the show is live at the iconic Darwin Amphitheater presented by Amazon Music and broadcast around Australia from 7pm this Saturday on NITV, SBS Viceland, NIRS, Facebook and SBS On Demand.

The NIMAs will also be honouring the life of Uncle Archie Roach as well as welcoming Noongar woman and triple j Unearthed winner Bumpy who will be bringing her soulful sounds of loss, joy and connection to the awards stage for the very first time. The night will also feature a massive lineup of Australian talent, with performances by Thelma Plum, King Stingray, Emma Donovan & the Putbacks, Birdz & Fred Leone, Yirrmal, J-MILLA and the Red Flag Dancers.

Leading this year’s NIMA finalist list is BARKAA, the Malyangapa and Barkindji woman and fast-rising star with four NIMA nominations. Known for her hard-hitting rap tracks, BARKAA has earned candidacy for her songs ‘King Brown’ and ‘Black Matriarchy’, and the title of New Talent of the Year. Following with three nominations Yolngu man Baker Boy for his debut album, Gela, and its track ‘My Mind’. He’s also up for Artist of the Year.

Amongst the brightest lights in Australian music, the nominee list also includes previous finalists and winners The Kid Laroi, Jessica Mauboy, Electric Fields, King Stingray, Miiesha, Mo Ju, Emma Donovan & the Putbacks, Birdz, Dallas Woods, Archie Roach, Tasman Keith and Tilly Tjala Thomas. Jem Cassar-Daley, Lil Kootsie, Dobby and dameeeela are receiving their first ever nominations. Listen to the nominees playlist now, on Amazon Music.

BARKAA, Baker Boy and more among finalists at National Indigenous Music Awards

“The NIMAs play an incredibly important role in championing emerging artists and honouring legends in the First Nations music community. We’re proud to once again support this incredible music event, and share the biggest and brightest First Nations talents Australia wide with our broadcast,” Head of Entertainment, Events & Creative, NITV, Adam Manovic said.

“We’re excited for the return of the live event this year, and look forward to sharing this with all corners of the country on both NITV and SBS VICELAND. The NIMAs are an integral part of our Music/Arts event slate at NITV – and – Music is culture, and culture is culture, the foundation of all First Nations storytelling.”

The NIMAs are an NITV production simulcast on NITV and SBS VICELAND on Saturday 6 August LIVE at 7:30pm AEST and will be available to stream on SBS On Demand.