Australia has produced very few, if any, popular singers of such extraordinary talent that their voices seem to be a gift from the gods.
Not until now.
Listen to Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu as he sings in Galpu, Djambarrpuynu, Gumatj - and, occasionally, in English - and you will instantly surrender to the greatest voice this continent has ever recorded.
Blind from birth, he is not an Aboriginal musician singing protest songs against a rock, reggae or folk-country backing. Rather he is a deeply traditional man with the voice of an angel singing of his love of country ( Wiyathul, Galiku), his deep spiritual connection with the land ( Djarimirri, Marrandil), the death of his father ( Bapa), the difficulties of being born blind - which he sings in a mixture of local language and English ( Gurrumul History) - and the importance to his life of continuity and his ancestors. The backing is sparse and simple.
This is, by any measure, an extraordinary album. Yunupingu has a voice which is so beautiful and so emotion-laden that it invests every song with a passion and pathos which are quite overwhelming. Non-Elcho Island listeners (which, obviously, is most of us) cannot understand the meaning of the songs - which are not only obscured by language but also, even in translation, far beyond the frame of reference of modern city dwellers.
Yet there is something so timeless and so direct that it is impossible to remain unmoved. It is as though Yunupingu has reached into a wellspring so deep it transcends cultural barriers. He has found an emotional bridge which is genuinely universal. This is not just a very good record, it is one of the greatest recordings ever made.
Listen quietly and carefully, and this music will take you to a better place.