• Gurrumul winning National Indigenous Music Awards Artist of the Year. (AUM PR)
WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that the following article contains images of deceased persons.
By
NITV Staff Writer

23 Apr 2018 - 9:07 AM  UPDATED 23 Apr 2018 - 9:13 AM

Even in death, Indigenous Australian musician Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu has continued to break new ground, with his final album becoming the first in an Australian Indigenous language to top the nation's music charts.

His unique voice spawned a career that saw him sell more than half a million albums, recorded in his native Yolngu tongue, and perform for audiences that included the Queen and former US President Barack Obama.

Djarimirri (Child of the Rainbow) has claimed the number one spot on the ARIA albums chart on Saturday, following the album's April 13 release.

Family of Gurrumul Yunupingu allows use of name and image to preserve legacy
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.

The album, more than four years in the making, was finished just weeks before the 46-year-old blind singer, known simply as Gurrumul, died in July after a battle with kidney and liver disease.

It combines songs and harmonised chants from Gurrumul's traditional Yolngu life with orchestral arrangements, featuring members of the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Sydney Symphony Orchestra among others.

Producer Michael Hohnen, Gurrumul's musical partner and manager, says all Australians can be proud of Djarimirri (Child of the Rainbow)'s success.

"The history he has made taking a true Australian language and heritage to number one proves the strength of the underlying cultural identity of this nation," Mr Hohnen said in a statement on Saturday.

"This album is a testament to this great Australian and his family, all Yolngu and the greater Aboriginal population."

Earlier this year a new documentary exploring the two worlds Gurrumul lived was released. The film examined his life of fame and success, and the life he lived with his family back on country.

National screening for documentary about the life of Gurrumul Yunupingu
He’s an Australian icon whose music touched the lives and souls of countless of people around the world. His passing has left a hole in the life of his friends, family and the music industry.

Born blind in 1971 on Elcho Island in East Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, Gurrumul's voice and music took him around the world, performing in places such as New York's Carnegie Hall and at the Queen's Jubilee Concert in London.

The singer's family broke with cultural tradition to allow the use of his name beyond his death, in an effort to ensure his legacy lives on.

With AAP