Once described by Sting as having “the voice of a higher being”, late Elcho Island artist Gurrumul stunned audiences from the moment his self-titled debut was released in 2008.
The LP won two ARIAs from five nominations, and marked the beginning of a highly decorated career; over the course of his next three albums (the last released posthumously) he’d collect multiple ARIA, NIMA, AIR, and APRA Awards, as well as the esteem of countless notable artists including Elton John, Quincy Jones and Stevie Wonder. Following a long battle with illness, Gurrumul passed away in 2017 at the age of 46; he was posthumously named Australian Artist of the Year in 2018.
Decca/Universal have today announced The Gurrumul Story, a collection of the musician’s most enduring and popular songs. Included is a new, orchestrally-augmented version of his breakout hit Wiyathul, titled Wiyathul (Longing For Place); it’s accompanied by an official music video (the song’s first official music video) that was filmed in May 2021 on Gurrumul’s home of Elcho Island, and features local dancers performing the sacred totemic dance of the Wiyathul bird.
The album also includes a duet version of Bayini from Gurrumul’s sophomore album Rrakala, featuring Sarah Blasko.
To cap it all off, the deluxe CD/DVD edition of the release contains a 25-minute documentary which chronicles Gurrumul’s rise to fame and four studio albums, as well as a selection of music videos. Watch the trailer for the doco below, and even if you’re completely familiar with the artist’s work, you try not getting goosebumps.
The Gurrumul Story is out September 10 via Decca/Universal.
Keep up with the latest Australian release dates for music.