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"Bȁpa" - Dr. G. Yunupingu

Updated: Aug 22, 2022

Today, I looked a little deeper into the beautiful music of Dr. G. Yunupingu (the artist, Gurrumul) - of which there is always something new, and so deeply moving, when one listens.


Here is what I learned today that I share with you as I spend this week committed to learning and understanding our First Nations cultures in the spirit of NAIDOC week and its 2021 theme: "Heal Country!" through the conduit I know well - Songs, Songwriting, and Vocal Music.


Gurrumul's song, titled "Bȁpa", meaning Father, is sung in Yolngu or Yolŋu Matha, also referred to as Yolŋu of the Yolŋu Nations. The language and its sound, sung by an incredibly delicate and skilled, emotive voice, led my curiosity. After some research, I then discovered that there are in fact multiple Yolngu languages, encompassing around 12 dialects. I then learned that this is one language group of "more than 250 Indigenous languages" and "around 800 dialects" (AIATSIS).


Wow. Imagine the many songs that must exist, and that tell of stories and cultures and lived experience. A week certainly wouldn't be enough. I was deeply humbled to discover this and recognise there is so much more to learn. Please feel free to read further and to listen to the sources I included below.


If I have quoted anything incorrect, or if you wish to add or make suggestions, please feel free to add or teach in the comments below and offering open learning amongst one another.



Sources & Further Reading: "Bȁpa" Live Performance by Dr. G. Yunuping (Gurrumul, 2008) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyAa1-jOZpI Yolŋu Studies, Charles Darwin University - http://www.learnline.cdu.edu.au/yolngustudies/ AIATSIS - https://aiatsis.gov.au/explore/living-languages Gurrumul Foundation & Artist Website - http://www.gurrumul.com/about/ and https://www.gurrumulfoundation.org.au/ Teaching From Country - http://learnline.cdu.edu.au/inc/tfc/index.html NAIDOC 2021 Heal Country! Theme - https://www.naidoc.org.au/get-involved/2021-theme SBS Heal Country! Teaching Resources - https://www.sbs.com.au/.../celebrate-naidoc-heal-country

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