Mandawuy Yunupingu

Mandawuy Yunupingu

Name: Mandawuy Yunupingu
Born: 17 September 1956
Died: 2 June 2013 (aged 56)
Occupations: Musician, school principal
Orign: Yirrkala, Arnhem Land
Northern Territory, Australia
Genre: Aboriginal rock
Instruments: Guitar
Years active: 1986 - 2013

Mandawuy Yunupingu (formerly Tom Djambayang Bakamana Yunupingu, skin name Gudjuk), 17 September 1956 - 2 June 2013, was an Aboriginal Australian musician and educator, most notable for being the front man of the band Yothu Yindi.

Mandawuy Yunupingu was born near the remote north-east Arnhem Land community of Yirrkala, 600 kilometres east of Darwin in Australia's Northern Territory.
At the time of his birth, Yirrkala was controlled by the Methodist Missionary Society. His surname, Yunupingu, means "rock that will stand against anything". Originally known as Bakamana, he took the name Mandawuy (meaning "clay") in 1989 following the death of a man who shared his former name. (Under Yolngu law, the name of a dead person cannot be uttered until that person's spirit has passed on to its rightful place).

Mandawuy's skin name is Gudjuk meaning hawk. His formal Yolngu name and spiritual identity is Maralitja. He is a member of the Gumatj clan of the Yirritja moiety.

Mandawuy> speaks many of the tribal dialects encompassed in Yolngu matha as well as English. In 1977 Mandawuy earned a restricted teaching certificate and began teaching at the Yirrkala Community School. In 1985, while teaching at Galiwin'ku on neighbouring Elcho Island, Mandawuy wrote his first song, Djapana (Sunset Dreaming).
Later in the year he formed the band Yothu Yindi with his nephew Witiyana Marika.

In 1987, Mandawuy became the first Aboriginal person from Arnhem Land to gain a university degree, taking a Bachelor of Arts (Education) from Deakin University.
In 1989 he became assistant principal of the Yirrkala Community School and set about introducing a both-ways curriculum that offered students the best aspects of both Yolngu (Aboriginal) and Balanda (European) education processes.

In 1990, Mandawuy took over as principal, until late 1991 when he took leave to concentrate on his career with Yothu Yindi. As the band's principal songwriter he was responsible for much of the material on Yothu Yindi's gold album.

In December 1992, the band was invited to headline at the New York launch of the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Peoples. Another career highlight beamed around the world was Yothu Yindi’s performance during the closing ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

On January 26, 1993, Mandawuy Yunupingu was named Australian of the Year for 1992. Mandawuy Yunupingu is the deputy chairman / secretary of the Yothu Yindi Foundation an Aboriginal Foundation set up in 1990 by Mandawuy and elders from five clans of the region.

He is married to Yalmay, a teacher from the Rirratjingu clan, and they have six daughters. Visit Mandawuy Yunupingu website Here.

Next Month's Indigenous Artist . . . T.B.A

Last Month's Talent Note!
Ruby Hunter

Ruby Hunter

Ruby won Deadlys in 2000 for Female Artist of the Year, 2003 for Outstanding Contribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Music and 2004 for Excellence in Film & Theatrical Score.
She made her acting debut in "One Night the Moon" with Archie Roach and Paul Grabowsky. she wrote and performed the concert "Ruby's Story", which tells her life story through song and spoken word.

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