PODCAST| Angelo Acerbi interviews Paul Williams, director of the film Gurrumul.
To listen to the interview, click on the ► icon on the right, just above the picture
Paul Williams directed a documentary film about a music icon who did not like to be interviewed, who did not want to be alone, who was blind since his birth and that was a incomparable huge natural talent. Internationally acclaimed, Gurrumul never wanted or needed to become famous, because his real and only world were his family and his village community.
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.