PODCAST| Angelo Acerbi interviews Michael Hohnen, actor of the film Gurrumul.
To listen to the interview, click on the ► icon on the right, just above the picture
Micheal Hohnen is a musician and producer who met Gurrumul 20 years ago and became his friend and counsellor and music partner, bringing him through a professional and personal journey, with albums and tours and personal crisis, in a continuous balancing between the village and family world Gurrumul was not willing to leave and the modern and hectic music industry.
Gurrumul: Three days after Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu approved the film, he died. In Yolngu lore the name, image and voice of the recently departed is retired from all public use. A very rare exception has been made by Gumatj and Gälpu clan leaders to make Gurrumul’s legacy available for everyone. The self-taught musician with the ‘voice of a higher being’ (Sting) was born blind and played the guitar left-handed and upside down. His family and community in the remote Galiwin’ku (Elcho Island) gave their shy boy unconditional support in the knowledge of his great gift. His music was propelled into Australia’s mainstream in the 1990s by Michael Hohnen and Mark Grose of Skinnyfish Music, two white fellas with strong bonds to the Yolngu people. Hohnen became Gurrumul’s close companion, both on and offstage, when his musical career also took off internationally. Combining Yolngu and more contemporary Western rhythms and melodies, this intricate portrait builds a bridge between contrasting worlds. Director Paul Williams respectfully delves into the Aboriginal community through unobtrusive cinematography and provides an integral sense of this amazing man’s spirit.