Dr G. Yunupingu - In Memoriam

Indigenous singer/songwriter

NT State recipient Australian of the Year 2009

Dr G. Yunupingu was from the Gumatj nation in North-East Arnhem Land. Blind since birth, he was a gifted musician who had the unique talent of playing right-handed strung guitars left-handed. A former member of Yothu Yindi and a long-time member of the Saltwater Band, his debut solo album, Gurrumul, was released to critical acclaim. Hailed as one of the greatest musicians Australia has ever produced, Dr G. Yunupingu sung in a mixture of local language and English. He performed in an almost classical setting with just an acoustic guitar, grand piano and double bass accompanying him.

As a deeply traditional man, his songs focus on his spiritual connection with the land, his love of country, and the importance of his ancestors. Named male artist of the year at the 2007 Northern Territory Indigenous Music awards and awarded two arias at the ARIA Awards 2008, he was acclaimed for his performance on the world stage in New York, Los Angeles and London. Dr G. Yunupingu also performed for the Queen and the Pope and supported Elton John on his Australian tour. He was an example of triumph over adversity, and of extraordinary talent.