* SONG: Gurrumul – I was born blind

Critics review of Gurrumul’s concert

I included this song and a link to a critics review of his concert in Sydney. Gurrumul is a blind singer/songwriter from the Gumatj clan on Elcho Island, off the coast of tropical North East Arnhem Land. His talents are lauded everywhere  – hence the words in this song ‘I’ve been to New York, I’ve been to LA, I’ve been to London’.

What is interesting is the way the review is written – it is about his music, with no mention of his blindness.  I wonder if the fact that because he has a talent that we admire and love then we are more ready to accept him as a great musician first rather than as a ‘blind musician’. Maybe it is because the audience for the review is people interested in music, so there is no need to highlight how Gurrumul can ‘teach’ us or ‘inspire’ us.

I compare this to some of my other posts in this blog that highlight the persons talent along with their disability, talking about how ‘inspirational’ it is that they have achieved something despite their disability.  Gurrumul has an great talent but it is really refreshing to read an article about his talent, not about how extraordinary it is for a blind person to be talented.


I was born blind, and I don’t know why

God knows why, because he love me so
as I grew up, my spirit knew
then I learnt to read the world of destruction
united we stand, divided we fall
together we’ll stand, in solidarity
Ŋarranydja dhuwala Batumaŋ
ŋarranydja dhuwala Djarrami
ŋarranydja dhuwala Djeŋarra’
ŋarranydja dhuwala Gurrumulŋa

I heard my mama, and my papa
crying their hearts in confusion
how can I walk? Straight and tall
in society please hold my hand
trying to bridge and build Yolŋu culture
I’ve been to New York
I’ve been to LA
I’ve been to London
ŋarranydja Gurrumul

United we stand, divided we fall
Together we’ll stand, in solidarity

Ŋarranydja dhuwala Barrupa
ŋarranydja dhuwala Dhukuḻuḻ
ŋarranydja dhuwala Maralitja
ŋarranydja dhuwala Ŋunbuŋunbu

Y..e, wo wäŋawu Garrapala
Dhamutjpirr, Dhamuŋura

I am Batumaŋ (ancestor)
I am Djarrami (ancestor)
I am Djeŋarra’
I am Gurrumulŋa (ancestor)

I am Gurrumul

I am Barrupa (my ḻikan)
I am Dhukuḻuḻ (my ḻikan)
I am Maralitja (my ḻikan)
I am Ŋunbuŋunbu (my ancestor)

Y.e wo of the country Garrapala
Dhamutjpirr, Dhamuŋura


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