Saltwater Band: Malk – review

(Skinnyfish/Dramatico)

The blind Aboriginal singer Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu released his debut solo album two years ago, and since then he has become successful far beyond Australia, selling more than half a million albums. His second album is released at the end of next month, but is preceded by this intriguing, if uneven reminder of what he was doing before he became an international celebrity. He was working with Saltwater Band, a group from Elcho Island, off north-east Arnhem Land, led by another singer-songwriter, Manuel Dhurrkay. This is their third album, a cheerful fusion of reggae, gospel, pop and occasional echoes of indigenous styles, with many lyrics in the language of the Gumatj people. Much of the instrumental work may be unremarkable, and some of the pop-reggae forgettable, but there are patches of strong vocal harmony work, as on the gospel-edged Djilawurr. Predictably, the best contributions come from Gurrumul himself, with faster, more upbeat versions of several songs from his solo album. The backing may not be up to much, but he's in fine, soulful voice on the reggae-edged Galiku and the emotional ballad Wirrpangu.

Contributor

Robin Denselow

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Gurrumul: Rrakala – review
This follow-up album is packed with Gurrumul's famous slow, melodic anthems, but it's time he showed what else he can do, writes Robin Denselow

Robin Denselow

22, Sep, 2011 @9:37 PM

Article image
SuperHeavy: SuperHeavy – review
Alert! Alert! Mick Jagger has gone reggae again. Incredibly, it could have been a lot worse, says Alexis Petridis

Alexis Petridis

15, Sep, 2011 @2:29 PM

Article image
Tune-Yards' Merrill Garbus on life after lo-fi
Merrill Garbus – aka Tune-Yards – made her first album at home on a dictaphone. For her new one, she had a whole studio at her disposal. Charlotte Richardson Andrews met her

Charlotte Richardson Andrews

07, Apr, 2011 @9:29 PM

In Jamaica the seven-inch is extinct - the end of reggae?

In Jamaica, seven-inch singles are completely extinct; DJs have ditched their turntables. Will the digital revolution mean the end of traditional reggae? Dave Stelfox reports

Dave Stelfox

18, Jan, 2008 @11:53 PM

Dave Simpson on what happened when reggae and punk went head to head in the UK

Dave Simpson on what happened when reggae and punk went head to head in the UK.

Dave Simpson

20, Jul, 2007 @9:35 AM

Article image
Cosmo Jarvis: 'My generation is the worst'

Two albums in, singer-songwriter Cosmo Jarvis is shaping up to be the spokesperson for his age group – even if Radio 1 won't play his records. Angus Batey meets him

Angus Batey

11, Aug, 2011 @9:30 PM

Matisyahu: Light | CD review
America's most sucessful Hassidic Jewish reggae singer is trying to become a worldwide star. By Dave Simpson

Dave Simpson

24, Jun, 2010 @10:00 PM

Roots Manuva Meets Wrongtom: Duppy Writer | CD review
Roots Manuva makes another excursion into dub, with brilliant results. By Will Dean

Will Dean

02, Sep, 2010 @10:59 PM

Article image
Far from the mainstream festival crowd
There are a growing number of small festivals that offer personal touches and originality over superstar lineups – and excessive ticket prices. Chris Salmon rounds up 10 of the best

Chris Salmon

20, May, 2010 @8:30 PM

Madonna: eco warrior

Chris Salmon on the pop queen's worrying lack of ideas about how to save the planet. Plus a reggae legend's lifestyle tips.

Chris Salmon

25, May, 2007 @10:55 PM