The Yolngu musician famously made the 1,500 km journey from his home in Milingimbi Island to the CAAMA (Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association) Radio HQ in Alice Springs to record his debut full-length, after his attempts to engage traditional music labels failed. The eponymous lead single from the album was announced the winner of the pop category at the NT Song of the Year Awards in 2015, and Gawurra was soon playing around the country, including at the 2016 Big Sound festival.
A mad-keen West Coast Eagles fan, Gawurra bases the melodies and lyrics of his tracks off traditional songlines he learned from his grandmother as a child; Indigenous Australian songlines give a traveller the ability to navigate across extremely large distances of land by describing waterholes, rock formations and other natural landmarks, and their locations.
Our favourites moments from the album include the absolutely euphoric electric guitar solo in the belly of Djiwul (Green Weeds From Fresh Water) and the gorgeous synth harmonics in Warrarra Gurrungala (Yellow Sunset), but we recommend listening to the entire album to experience the beauty of Gawurra’s voice.
Catch Gawurra at the locations below, including tonight at Melbourne’s Thornbury Theatre >>
Friday 24 February
Thornbury Theatre, Melbourne Vic
Saturday 25 February
Boyde Education Centre, Illaroo, NSW
Friday 10 March
Womadelaide, Adelaide SA
Sunday 12 March
Port Fairy Folk Festival, Port Fairy Vic
Tuesday 28 March
Kew Court House, Melbourne Vic
Wednesday 29 March
Gathering, Brisbane Mall QLD
Saturday 1 April
Powerhouse, Brisbane QLD