Djarimirri (Child Of The Rainbow)
SKINNYFISH / MGM
“Third time’s the charm,” or so the adage goes. But for an artist that’s never really had a slip-up to begin with, it’s Gurrumul’s posthumous fourth album that sees him reach a true peak in musical prowess. Four years in the making and completed less than a month before his tragic passing, Djarimirri (Child Of The Rainbow) is hauntingly beautiful, showcasing not just an ambitious triumph in uncompromising devotion, but a lifetime of accumulated talent.
It doesn’t feel as much like an album as it does an event – largely trading his signature acoustics for a grandiose orchestral soundscape, Gurrumul embraces theatricality on Djarimirri, pulling the listener into a whirlwind of emotions. Goosebumps are inevitable with every glittering pluck of a cello, every subtle hit of percussion and striking, impassioned chant.
There’s a contrast between the bright strings and horns, and the bold traditional chants (sung in Gurrumul’s native language) that build the album’s vocal element. Such a contrast is consistently breathtaking, the forcefulness of Gurrumul’s voice melding harmoniously with his dreamy orchestra backing. Alongside the title track, a standout cut is the adventurous “Gopuru (Tuna Swimming)”. But of course, the album is best consumed in one dedicated, unbroken listen from start to end.
At a lengthy, yet unfalteringly captivating 71 minutes, Gurrumul’s spirit lives on intensely through Djarimirri. It’s a true masterpiece in every sense of the word, and a powerful adieu from one of Australia’s most unapologetically authentic musicians. Rest in power, mate.
Review by Matt Doria