So the learning has really began. I’m already after delivering a presentation, few big readings, an Internet test and right before few more, both in virtual reality and in class.
That means I’ve been pretty busy recently and didn’t even have time to properly use one of these last days of summer to catch some sun far away from the Uni. Fortunately, the good thing about Melbourne is that even if you can’t leave it for a weekend getaway on a surf beach or a big music festival, you’re sure to find something nice here anyway. That’s my story, too: unable to get to Adelaide for that wonderful WOMAD festival, I found out that two other festivals will be held here on the same weekend (by the way, why everything in the same time?). Moreover, Gurrumul, one of the stars of WOMAD, will give a sideshow in Melbourne Zoo! Unfortunately, tickets for the concert of my other hero, Bonobo, were sold out…
Still, I prefer to miss him than to miss Gurrumul. This blind (and recently seriously ill) Aboriginal musician probably won’t perform that often on other continents… Even lucky in this case Aussies can’t listen to him live frequently. And Gurrumul is the one to listen to here.
He met Barack Obama and the Danish Prince couple, to start with less important things. Rolling Stone magazine featured Gurrumul on the cover and named him “Australia’s Most Important Voice”. He received several important music awards and is the 2009 Northern Territory recipient of Australian of the Year. The first album by him, “Gurrumul” reached Platinum sales three times. Elton John, Björk and Sting are among his fans.
Coming to more important matter, Gurrumul is always himself. He has never tried to perform in reggae/ska manner, which is probably the easiest way for an Aborigine to gain popularity. Instead of it, he always appears on stage in black pants and leather jacket, sits tranquilly and sings what he feels… things that have never been written down.
Although multi-lingual, Gurrumul speaks very little English and is said to be extremely shy. He has never given an interview himself. During the concert his friend and producer, whom Gurrumul asked to do so, spoke for him. This allows him to focus on the most important thing in his life – music.
I could try to describe his voice, but I would probably end up naming it not very clearly, in the manner the critics did, as having “transcendental beauty” or so. It doesn’t say much. You’ve got to check it yourself. I had tears in my eyes. Unfortunately my video is too big to post here, but you can try some other, as this one:
The rest is in the songs.
P.S. The ticket was expensive, but it included a short evening visit in the ZOO, where lions gave another concert… and ZOO itself supports a range of conservation projects, such as the one of Sumatran Tiger.
Moreover, my heroic modest artist ( by the way, it was another pleasure to hear “we love you” from the audience and then to see him smiling for the first time) shares what he earns with his tribe. Yeah, few things give greater satisfaction than well spent money 😉