Mandawuy Yunupingu’s 64th Birthday – Today’s Doodle celebrates musician, educator, and civil rights activist Mandawuy Yunupingu. In addition to starting the internationally acclaimed band Yothu Yindi, whose powerful music spread traditional Indigenous sounds around the world, Yunupingu was the first Indigenous Australian to be appointed a school principal in the country.
Mandawuy Djarrtjuntjun Yunupingu was born Tom Djambayang Bakamana Yunupingu on this day in 1956 in Yirrkala in the Northern Territory. In 1987, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in education from Deakin University, before returning to Yirrkala to teach.
Back home, Yunupingu devoted himself to his band Yothu Yindi, whose name translates to “mother and child” in the language of the Yolngu people. Committed to the concept of balance, the band included both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal musicians and blended traditional Indigenous music with modern rock and pop. Yothu Yindi released its debut album in 1989, the same year that Yunupingu became the principal of the Yirrkala Community School. Echoing his approach to music, he developed an educational philosophy that included both Aboriginal and Western teachings. Yothu Yindi went on to achieve worldwide fame with hits like “Treaty” (1991), which spent 22 weeks on the Australian music charts.
In 1992, Yunupingu was named Australian of the Year for helping to foster a deeper understanding between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.
Happy birthday, Mandawuy Yunupingu, and thank you for sharing your music and principles with the world.
You can find more about Mandawuy Yunupingu’s 64th Birthday on the official Google Doodle Page