European name: Gavin
Other Aboriginal names: *****
Skin name: Gotjuk
Tribe: Yolngu Homeland: Dhanaya – north-east Arnhem Land
Father: Malati Yunupingu
Mother: Susan Gunariny Gurruwiwi
At only 24 years old, Yomunu Yunupingu has travelled to more countries than most people double his age. Actually, that’s an understatement – he has visited more countries than most ordinary folk would in a lifetime or even two! But Yomunu is no ordinary person. His passport to such far-flung destinations as Norway, Austria and Brazil is his extraordinary talent as a yidaki player.
A dynamite virtuoso, Yomunu has been a yidaki player for the Yothu Yindi band and has toured and recorded with them for about a quarter of his life. His brilliant yidaki playing can be heard on Birrkuta, One Blood, and Garma, in addition to the Yolngu Boy motion picture and soundtrack CD of the same name. Yomunu’s mentor in the finer points of yidaki playing has been his uncle (Yomunu’s mother’s brother), Djalu Gurruwiwi – renowned yidaki maestro. His father, Malati Yunupingu, is himself a celebrity of sorts, having starred in the Yolngu Boy motion picture as Botj’s father. Malati was also a dancer with the Yothu Yindi band for many years.
When playing the yidaki, Yomunu’s favourite keys are E flat fundamental and F# fundamental. His ability to play a wide range of styles on different instruments is nothing short of phenomenal. And surely, in terms of his technical range and precision, Yomunu is among the finest yidaki players on this planet. Despite his fame, Yomunu remains an incredibly humble person. His easy personality together with his beaming smile immediately warms old friends and strangers alike. He encourages young pre-teen yidaki players to aspire to new heights of excellence and is never short on advice for those wishing to enter the stratospheric realms of the yidaki.
Overseas tours and performances
Yomunu Yunupingu has toured extensively with the Yothu Yindi band and has performed in Austria, Brazil, England, Germany, Hawaii, Japan, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, and the USA, among other countries
Specialist yidaki player
1996 Birrkuta – Wild Honey. Yothu Yindi. Mushroom Records 1999 One Blood. Yothu Yindi. Mushroom Records 2000 Garma. Yothu Yindi. Mushroom Records 2001 Yolngu Boy – music from the motion picture. Australian Children’s Television Foundation
2001 Yolngu Boy. Australian Children’s Television Foundation and Burundi Pictures in association with Yothu Yindi Foundation.