Gurrumul’s previously unheard music set for release on new label

The late musician has been signed to Decca Australia

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that the following story contains the name, image and discussion of a person who has died.

Previously unheard music from the late Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu is set to be released following his signing to Decca Australia.

As reported by The Australian, a trove of new works including limited-edition releases on coloured vinyl, a box set of Gurrumul’s complete recordings, an orchestral album and more are expected to arrive under the new label.

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There are also talks of using Gurrumul’s extensive unheard back catalogue to create three new albums: one of vocal duets, piano duets and a remix record, all featuring collaborations with local and international artists.

Gurrumul’s signing to Decca has been in the works for five years, following talks between the Yolngu singer’s home label Skinnyfish Records and Decca’s parent company, Universal Music.

Speaking to The Australian about the deal, Skinnyfish Music’s creative director Michael Hohnen said the partnership was “the only way we could see that his legacy is going to be able to be presented nationally and internationally in a way that is going to get the coverage that it deserves”.

The sentiment was echoed by Universal Music Australia and New Zealand’s President George Ash, who said the signing is “a deep and genuine privilege for all of us”.

“We look forward to taking this (the singer’s legacy) to a much broader audience both in Australia and also around the world, while also helping see some of Gurrumul’s unfinished works come to light.”

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Gurrumul passed away in 2017 at the age of 46, following health issues with his liver and kidneys.

The multi-instrumentalist was born blind off the coast of Arnhem Land and incorporated much of his heritage into his music, singing in multiple Yolngu languages as well as English.

He received platinum certifications from the Australian Recording Industry Association for his self-titled debut album and 2011 follow-up ‘Rrakala’, as well as numerous awards for the posthumous ‘Djarimirri (Child Of The Rainbow)’, released in 2018.

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