• Gurrumul performing as part of the Supersense Festival at Hamer Hall in Melbourne in 2015. (NOISE11)
Late musician Gurrumul Yunupingu will be identified by his full name and his image can be shown, says his family in order to preserve his music and memory.
By
Staff writers

21 Dec 2017 - 10:43 AM  UPDATED 21 Dec 2017 - 10:46 AM

The mourning family of late indigenous Australian musician Gurrumul Yunupingu is breaking with cultural tradition to allow the use of his name and ensure his legacy lives on.

The final funeral ceremony for the 46-year-old blind singer, who died in July following a battle with kidney and liver disease, was held last month at Galiwin'ku on Elcho Island in Arnhem land.

The death of any Yolngu person is usually accompanied by strict traditional protocols which prohibit the use of the deceased's name.

"The immediate family of Gurrumul have been clear throughout the grieving process that the contribution he made and continues to make to Australian and Yolngu cultural life should not be forgotten," his record label Skinnyfish Music said in a statement.

"The family have given permission that following the final funeral ceremony, his name and image may once again be used publicly to ensure that his legacy will continue to inspire both his people and Australians more broadly."

Tributes flowed after Gurrumul died in Darwin, with prominent Indigenous musicians offering tributes, including singer Jessica Mauboy.

"Sadly we have lost a dear friend. I am saddened by this news, very sad," she told NITV News.

"We have lost a great leader, a legend in our music industry, our community and an even bigger loss to the world."

Singer Archie Roach said Gurrumul had helped him connect with country.

"So with a broken heart I still hear his voice that gave me such comfort and peace and reconnected me to country; that will be so sadly missed with the passing of such a beautiful man. Condolences to his family and community," he wrote.

On Twitter Musician Briggs said: "I'm really going to miss my friend, Dr. G Yunupingu. I'll find the right words soon. Love to his family."

Troy Cassar Daley said: "Rip Brother Dr G Yunupingu, you were a light among us love to his Family & the Galiwin’ku community NT"

Others including Midnight Oil frontman and former federal government minister Peter Garrett also took to Twitter to mourn the loss.

Gurrumul had suffered years of ill health, having contracted Hepatitis B as a child, leaving him with liver and kidney disease.

At the time of Gurrumul's Mark Grose from Skinnyfish Music said his death showed there was still far to great a gap for Indigenous Australians in the area of health and life expectancy

"It says to me, it does say that we have to re-double our efforts, there is a continuing gap that needs to be closed, and we all need to be part of closing that gap and recognising that the Indigenous people we are friends with, that we socialise with, that we work with, their life expectancy is not as good as mine as a non-Indigenous person and I think all of us need to take some responsibility to help work towards better outcomes for Aboriginal people."

With AAP