Friday favourites – 25 May

Dr Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu was a remarkable singer and musician. The documentary Gurrumul covers many of his performances, starting out with playing to Aboriginal audiences in the top-end (Northern Territory), then with the mega-group Yothu Yindi in the 1980 and 90s and as a solo artist. Despite the reticence of this shy man, we hear and see through performances and through the words of his family on Elcho Island in the Northern Territory the great esteem he was held in as well as the dilemma’s of living in two worlds – that of internationally-celebrated musician (there’s an excruciating scene appearing with Sting on French TV program Taratata ) and as an Aboriginal man with cultural and family responsibilities. The film makes us feel how strong that culture is, and how difficult it was for Gurrumul to leave it. In 2015 he retired from public touring and tragically passed away in 2017 aged 46.

Elcho Island - Google Maps

Go see this film, not only because of the sensitive portrayal of his journey but also the sense of Eastern Arnhem land and the Yolgnu culture full of ceremony, dancing and song and the wonderful children laughing and mugging for the camera. Our little Friday matinee audience applauded at the end, and I’m sure you will too. (For non-Australian readers – encourage your local cinema to seek this gem out).

Cordite Poetry Review has a new edition out  “Un-themed” edited by Lisa Gorton. The edition includes: 12 artworks, translations of Mexican poet Valerie Mejer Caso and award winning Catalan poet Laia Llobera I Serra, an essay on John Ashbery and 65 brand new poems…

Current favourites of this eclectic mix: Royal Park by Jessica Yu, ‘

‘this the night dead gum leaves with wet glass sheen
ghosts of brand new green
headlamps diamente eyes starstruck by the big dark…’

and Claire Gaskin’s recollection Ismene’s Thirst

…one side limp
I called an ambulance
this memory smells nutty
the first line I trusted

hot under a tree in the outback

Finally, something for all you gardeners out there, Umbel & Panicle is a beautiful bi-monthly photography and poetry journal with botanically themed issues (seed, flower, fruit, axil etc.).

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