Leukemia Fundraiser for Yidaki Maker Burrŋupurrŋu Wunuŋmurra

Burrngupurrngu Wunungmurra

Important Business First

Fundraiser link – https://www.gofundme.com/leukemia-treatment-support

And that yidaki he’s holding in the picture above and in the fundraiser video? If you’re in North America, you can buy it and/or one other from Burrŋupurrŋu here – http://gingerroot.com/catalog/yidaki.htm, with a share of the purchase price going to the campaign.

Who is Burrŋupurrŋu?

Burrngupurrngu

To be brief, Burrŋupurrŋu AKA Bruce Wunuŋmurra is a leader of the Dhaḻwaŋu clan, an undisputed yiḏaki-djambatj (didjeridu master) and one of the nicest guys in Arnhem Land. Born around 1950, he grew up between the bush and the Yirrkala mission, where he attended school. He lived most of his adult life at his clan homeland at Gurrumuru, but now finds himself at Gunyaŋara’, closer to the hospital and other services in the mining town of Nhulunbuy.

Coincidentally, Burrŋupurrŋu’s father already appeared on this blog.

Two Brothers - Nyepayŋa and Binydjarrpuma

Nyepayŋa, at left, was one of the “Two Brothers at Galarra.” He fathered many children who became leaders and renowned artists. The late Yaŋgarriny was a prominent Yolŋu artist. Burrŋupurrŋu’s brothers Yumutjin and Warralka lead song with gäthu/nephew Wambuna on yiḏaki in this video clip from the recording of the album Gurrumuru.

Burrŋupurrŋu’s mother was Gangarriwuy of the Marrakulu clan – stringybark people, as we learned in the first blog post.

Burrŋupurrŋu credits two main yidaki influences. First, Djalu’ Gurruwiwi, who I assume needs no introduction to readers of this blog. The other is Manydjarri, father of well known yidaki maker Ŋoŋu Ganambarr.  Manydjarri & Ŋoŋu lead song here:

With Manydjarri & Djalu’s tutelage, Burrŋupurrŋu and his brother Djalawu became the hot yidaki players in the 1970’s, in demand for ceremonial playing. The late Milkayŋu Munuŋgurr credits them as his biggest influence. He told me about walking through Yirrkala when he was a school boy and hearing cassette tapes of ceremony playing from houses. He would go, sit down and listen and analyze the playing style. This was the beginning of what he would later call yiḏaki ŋäṉarr-ḏäl, or “hard tongue didgeridoo.” Milkay went to live with his Dhaḻwaŋu kin, partly to learn yidaki from Djalawu and Burrŋupurrŋu.

Burrŋupurrŋu and the Yiḏaki Boom

Worldwide awareness of didgeridoos in general and yidaki specifically grew greatly in the 1990’s and 2000’s. Djalu’ rose to prominence first, but other Yolŋu names soon followed. Burrŋupurrŋu stood out, partly because of his crafting prowess and partly because his wife, Djul’djul Gurruwiwi, is a talented artist, daughter of the late great Gälpu clan painter Mithinarri. While most yidaki craftsmen shifted to acrylic paints, Burrŋupurrŋu and Djul’djul stuck with traditional ochres and clay. To me, this was an important part of the package making them “the real deal.”

From the initial yidaki boom circa 2000, through my tenure in Yirrkala 2004-2009, and right up to today, Burrŋupurrŋu and Djul’djul have remained some of the hardest working yidaki makers with the highest standard of quality in both craftsmanship and artistry.

Gudurrku yidaki by Burrngupurrngu & Djul'djul

Bapi yidaki by Burrngupurrngu & Djul'djul

Excerpts of my 2005 interview with Burrŋupurrŋu appear on two pages of Yiḏakiwuy Dhäwu Miwatjŋurunydja. Check out his off-the-cuff comments on non-Aboriginal didgeridoo makers and female players.

Leukemia

A few years ago, Burrŋupurrŋu was diagnosed with leukemia. I haven’t been nosy enough to find out the exact type, but it’s in the category of Myeloproliferative neoplasms. Patients with these diseases may not ever be cured as such, but they can live with the condition for many years. This seems to be the case with Burrŋupurrŋu. He’s going on with his life, but without the strength he once had, and with the extra complications and expense of regular medical treatments.

This fundraiser aims to help offset those extra complications and expenses. I’ll turn you over to the fundraiser page for more info.

https://www.gofundme.com/leukemia-treatment-support

Once again, I’m selling the yidaki Burrŋupurrŋu is holding in the picture and video on the fundraising page, plus one other he made. He was already paid his normal share for these, but I’ll kick another $100 each into the fundraising campaign when they’re sold. Check them out here:

http://gingerroot.com/catalog/yidaki.htm

Yidaki by Burrngupurrngu and Djul'djul

Thanks for reading and considering helping out, and cheers to my old colleague, flatmate and friend Jeremy Cloake for starting the fundraising campaign.

I Hit the Yidaki Jackpot!

Wukun & Randin

Apologies for the lack of recent posts. I’ve been busy in my other role as non-yidaki musician. However, I stumbled upon a treasure trove of yidaki while on tour as a guitarist this past week.

My first full blog post included this pic of me with Wukuṉ Waṉambi at the opening of the Barrku! exhibition at Harvey Art Projects in Ketchum, Idaho back in 2011.

Randin plays yidaki with Wukun singing

I stopped in on the gallery a few hours before my performance in town this Thursday night. Julie, the owner, shocked me with the revelation that she has thirteen finely painted yidaki sent by my old colleagues in Yirrkala. We pulled them out of storage, admired them for a bit, then recorded quick videos of me trying them all out. We’ll work out how to list them for sale online soon. Up until now, they were for sale to her art collector clients. Now, they will be available to yidaki players around the world.

For now, check out these examples. Attention fellow film snobs: I am not responsible for the aspect ratio of the videos.

Manini Gumana painted the first one with miny’tji (sacred design) of Yirritja moiety salt water at Garrapara. This one is a great instrument, but is a little awkward to play due to a roughly shaped natural mouthpiece. A little wax or wood filler will easily fix it.

Buwathay Munyarryun adorned this powerful yidaki with Gularri and Djapana miny’tji of his Wangurri clan.

Lastly (for now), is a fantastic yidaki with old school playing characteristics, painted in a very fine hand by my friend and former co-worker Marrnyula Munuŋgurr with her Djapu clan’s characteristic square design.

I honestly would love to buy all three of these yidaki and a few others in the collection, but simply can’t come up with an excuse to own any more than I do already. Soon I’ll post information on how you can make me extremely jealous by buying them for yourself. Stay tuned!

Yidaki of the Month #1, July 2017: The First Yiḏaki I Ever Saw

Yidaki of the Month #1

People often ask me about the yiḏaki in my collection. Therefore, I bring you the first YiḏakiStory vlog and the first in a new series: Yiḏaki of the Month.

Recap:

Made circa 1992 by Djakanŋu Yunupiŋu, best known to worldwide yiḏaki players and fans of Yolŋu culture as sister to Mandawuy Yunupiŋu and wife of Baḏikupa Gurruwiwi, Djalu’s father’s younger brother. Deep and warm C#. First owned by the late Mike LeBien, a dear friend and co-founder of my label Ginger Root Records.

Future editions of Yiḏaki of the Month will feature footage of Yolŋu players on the instrument when I have it.

I will record in my studio in the future. I tried to go the easy way and film in my live-sounding living room with an iPad, but clearly I need to capture the sound better. Next time!