DR YUNUPINGU, an indigenous Australian musician who sold over half a million records worldwide, wrote very few songs in English. The rest were sung in different languages of the Yolngu Matha group, which includes more than 30 languages and dialects spoken by several thousand people in north-east Arnhem Land, in Australia’s Northern Territory. Arrestingly direct, one of his most well-known English songs opens with the line “I was born blind and I don’t know why,” going on to tell of his parents “crying their hearts in confusion” when learning of his condition. This week, many more tears were shed after he died at the age of 46 in the Royal Darwin Hospital after a long struggle with kidney and liver disease.
[Editor’s note: Indigenous Australian mourning protocol mandates that the full name of the deceased cannot be used, nor an image of the person’s face. A modified version of the name is…Continue reading
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