Up-and-coming Indigenous singer-songwriter Stanley 'Gawurra' Gaykamangu recently moved to Melbourne far from his homelands of Gove Peninsula country and his Grandmother’s land of Yathalamara, and Milingimbi Island.
Culture, songlines, stories and history are deeply embedded in Gawurra’s resonant voice and soulful blend of of traditional and and contemporary songs.
Gawurra is a gentle and genuine young leader. He is to be an Elder in his community; the Old people gave him this knowledge and power. It is important for him to teach his kids, brothers and sisters the ‘right way’. Gawurra is passionate about keeping his Gupapungu language strong
Gawurra’s debut album Ratja Yaliyali Winner of 4 NIMA awards in 2016 including Album Of The Year As well as high accolades of Rolling Stone achieved a four-and-a-half star review, leaving the singer close to tears at the praise.
"I felt like crying, my heart, you know, because it's getting big in the future time and I don't know where I'm going, but I'm doing this not only for me, but for us, black and white Australia. I'm not here for my family, I'm here for you, for me, for everyone to do this." Gawurra said.
Having grown up in the remote community of Milingimbi in the Top End, Gawurra sings about his life in Arnhem Land in his own language of Gupapuyngu. His lyricism points to the spirit and nature of his island home.
"When we sing, especially my language, we sing from the heart and tell stories through the music. It doesn't matter if people don't understand but you can listen, you can feel the spirit." Gawurra said.
As a Yolngu artist from North East Arnhem Land, comparisons to multi-Aria awards winning and fellow musician Gurrumul are inevitable, and there are high hopes he too will appeal to a broad audience. Like many performers, he had to travel far from his home in order to build his career, heading first to Alice Springs and then on to Melbourne.
Gawurra’s journey to NaranaFest has been years in the making.