DR G. YUNUPINGU Dies aged 46

Dr G. Yunupingu sadly passed away Tuesday night aged 46 at Darwin Hospital.  It is understood his death was considered sudden despite him undergoing dialysis treatment for some time. His family has requested his full name be withheld for cultural reasons.

Yunupingu was a truly unique voice in Australian music. As a blind indigenous musician growing up in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory it is fair to say that he was not given a wealth of opportunity to become an international star. But Yunupingu’s voice was something that no one could argue with. Singing in his native tongue, with an other-worldly voice, songs like Djarimirri  and History (I Was Born Blind) captured the attention and imagination of people across all countries and cultures.

A publicist of Dr G. Yunupingu says he is “remembered today as one of the most important figures in Australian music history, blind from birth and emerging from the remote Galiwin’ku community on Elcho Island off the coast of Arnhem Land to sell over half a million copies of his albums across the world, singing in his native Yolngu language. His debut album cemented him as the Australian voice of a generation, hitting triple platinum in Australia, silver in the UK and charting in multiple other countries across the globe”.

Yunupingu is also the highest selling Indigenous artist in history, achieving a swag of ARIA Awards and performing across the globe for audiences including Queen Elizabeth II and Barack Obama and released the first Indigenous language single to reach the top five, all the while continuing to call Elcho Island home.

It’s a sad loss not just for Australia but the world as a whole. Yunupingu is a unique talent we are not likely to ever encounter again.