June 2, 2013 5:12 PM   Subscribe

Yunupingu, former Yothu Yindi frontman, has died at 56 Yunupingu was the the first Indigenous Australian from Arnhem Land to gain a university degree. He Co-founded Yothu Yindi in 1986. Yothu Yindi released six major albums, from 1988 to 2000. The band was nominated for 12 ARIA music awards between 1992 and 1997. They won eight awards, including Song of the Year for Treaty. Yunupingu was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2012 Yunupingu was named Australian of the Year in 1992 for his role in building relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. He died aged 56 at his home in Yirrkala, NT, after fighting kidney disease for over 5 years.
posted by greenhornet (29 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I posted a photo of him on my site's page; somebody said that was disrespectful, but I've noticed all the news sites are doing it too.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:15 PM on June 2, 2013

posted by Jimbob at 5:22 PM on June 2, 2013

RIP Mandawuy. Very sad news.

The circumstances of his death again just underline the gap in good health care and medical care between white Australia and Indigenous Australia.

The life expectancy difference remains too big.
posted by chris88 at 5:31 PM on June 2, 2013

@Charlemagne In Sweatpants: All photos of Indigenous people should include a warning along the lines of: "Warning: Indigenous Australians are advised that this website may include images or names of people now deceased."

"Traditionally, some Indigenous communities avoid referring to dead person by name directly after their death as a mark of respect — and also because it is considered too painful for the grieving family." More information here.

The same is true of photographic images.
posted by greenhornet at 5:43 PM on June 2, 2013 [8 favorites]

I played the heck out of Tribal Voice in high school.

posted by feckless at 6:09 PM on June 2, 2013

posted by kjs4 at 6:14 PM on June 2, 2013

posted by Smart Dalek at 6:15 PM on June 2, 2013

Gosh, I saw him some 20 years ago at the Wetlands in New York City - which is also long gone.

How time erases all.

posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:19 PM on June 2, 2013

posted by de at 6:36 PM on June 2, 2013 [5 favorites]

posted by Monsieur Caution at 7:09 PM on June 2, 2013

posted by spinifex23 at 7:30 PM on June 2, 2013

posted by pompomtom at 7:35 PM on June 2, 2013

posted by Jilder at 7:45 PM on June 2, 2013

posted by Coaticass at 8:04 PM on June 2, 2013

Saw Yothu Yindi perform in Berkeley 20 years ago. To this day the best concert I have attended live. RIP brother, see you on the other side I hope.
posted by jcworth at 8:21 PM on June 2, 2013

RIP. Many years ago I happened across an Aboriginal/Torres Strait radio station on the Internet, and became a Yothu Yindi fan. (Earlier this year, I was astonished to find the group's CD Tribal Voice — featuring the powerful song Treaty — on the sale table of a Maine island library; I quickly snapped it up.)
posted by LeLiLo at 9:48 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

posted by Athanassiel at 10:29 PM on June 2, 2013

posted by gomichild at 11:52 PM on June 2, 2013

posted by robcorr at 12:39 AM on June 3, 2013

posted by No-sword at 1:20 AM on June 3, 2013

posted by deadwax at 3:09 AM on June 3, 2013

"The family has made a few statements re. use of images and names via NITV's Facebook page (I know, I know, having a hard time finding a more solid source, but I imagine they're doing it on Facebook because that's where most of the egregious sharing of images is happening.)

"We would like to ask those who know us to help us educate the wider public. Whether it be your children, family & friends or otherwise to understand that Yolngu do not mention the name or show picture's of a recently deceased member of the Yolngu community. When the name our images can be made public again is up to the discretion of the family directly related. This is one of our traditional practice's that is a fundamental part of our traditional lore and law, one that demands the ultimate respect when mourning the loss of loved one's. Yolngu are currently mourning the loss of a great leader and family member, it has been very offensive to the families to show pictures etc.. through the media - TV, News, facebook etc... We ask for your help to educate others and help us to uphold our ancient traditions in modern times - Gatjilayngu Maymuru"
posted by Jilder at 4:23 AM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

You have to hear YY as a massive finger in the air to "world music" on the model of heroic white rock star remixes tribal grooves...a very necessary middle finger in its time.

posted by spitbull at 4:24 AM on June 3, 2013

Koori Radio 93.7FM, give the following guidelines on their facebook page:

Koori Radio abides and respects the Cultural Protocol of our people as the First Nations Peoples of Australia. We ask that you join in this process and the following wishes of our NT family:

Just got word from the family of the former lead singer of Yothu Yindi.
They have been most upset at the use of his full name and images and ask that: “Media use his surname ONLY and no image. Thank you”.

NB: It has been requested that the FIRST NAME not be used, but that we refer to him as Dr M Yunupingu during Sorry Business time. Not mentioning the name of a recently deceased person is in line with cultural practices.

... maybe we can do our part in working through the sorry business by removing his first name from the title of this article, and just refer to him as Dr. M. Yunupingu ...

explains more about sorry business
posted by ix_heloise at 12:51 PM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yeah I've been wondering what on earth the ABC have been doing with their news story with full name an image. I assumed they knew how to do this.
posted by Jimbob at 2:04 PM on June 3, 2013

Does hiding (but not removing) the offending image from a Facebook page count as respecting the wishes?
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:18 PM on June 3, 2013

I've asked for admins to remove the first name from the title and body of this post. Thanks for letting me know, and apologies to anyone who was concerned/offended.
posted by greenhornet at 5:23 PM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Too soon.

He was a great musician; an important diplomat; a true gentleman who maintained an open heart and arms for those who approached him and his people in good faith; one who was not afraid to borrow what was necessary and valuable for his people's survival; an elder who filled a critically important role in maintaining Yolngu culture while sharing some of it with the wider world; and an important educator and mentor.

We need more like him, and his loss will be keenly felt.

As for the name and image questions. His family have made clear their wishes regarding the matter. They haven't said "this is an internal thing, we won't be using them". They've asked that others refrain from doing so. It seems reasonable to respect that.

There's lots more that could be said, but a link to something by East Journey, one of the bands he mentored, seems a fitting tribute.
posted by Ahab at 5:26 PM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

[Edited the first name out of this post per OP request]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:08 PM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

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