Log In

Arnhem Land Singer Gawurra’s Debut Album Achieves Top Nod from Rolling Stone

Up-and-coming Indigenous singer-songwriter Stanley ‘Gawurra’ Gaykamangu has released his debut album to the high accolades of Rolling Stone magazine.



Gawurra’s debut album Ratja Yaliyali achieved a four-and-a-half star review from the music magazine, leaving the singer close to tears at the praise.

“I felt like crying, my heart, you know, because it’s getting big in the future time and I don’t know where I’m going,” Gawurra said.

Having grown up in the remote community of Milingimbi in the Top End, Gawurra sings about his life in Arnhem Land in his own language of Gupapuyngu.

His lyricism points to the spirit and nature of his island home.

“When we sing, especially my language, we sing from the heart and tell stories through the music,” Gawurra said.

“It doesn’t matter if people don’t understand but you can listen, you can feel the spirit.”

Like many performers, he had to travel far from his home in order to build his career, heading first to Alice Springs and then on to Melbourne.

The journey to his debut release has been years in the making for Gawurra.

“I tried many record labels but they said it’s too hard and [then] I found CAAMA [Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association],” Gawurra explained.

Last year Gawurra took it upon himself to travel by bus the 1,500 kilometres to the CAAMA studios in Alice Springs.

“When he came in he sat down and he was very nice, very polite, very softly spoken and then picks up a guitar and starts tuning up and getting ready,” studio engineer Rohan Carmody recounted.

“Then he opened his voice and started singing and just wow. I instantly got the shivers, got goosebumps.”

Style compared to fellow Yolngu artist Gurrumul

As a Yolngu artist from North East Arnhem Land, comparisons to multi-Aria awards winning and fellow musician Gurrumul are inevitable, and there are high hopes he too will appeal to a broad audience.

“I think the fact that he sings in his natural language, that just gives those extra melodic tones and things in there that you just wouldn’t quite get I guess from someone growing up in the city,” Mr Carmody said.

Gawurra has a busy touring schedule ahead, including a premiere performance of his album at the Walking With Spirits Festival near Katherine next month.

He will then go on to support Peter Garrett at the Darwin Festival in August.


[iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/1hddocHGLco” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen ]
This article originally appears at:
Article taken from the following publication:
ABC News
Article submitted by:
Tom Maddocks

Leave a Reply



Partly Cloudy

Humidity 75%

Wind 8.05 km/h

  • 04 Jan 201933°C19°C
  • 05 Jan 201937°C21°C