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Neil Murray
Neil Murray

"Neil Murray’s life and work will remain relevant while ever Australians ask the question – what in truth does it mean to call Australia home?" - Martin Flanagan, The Age

Maverick songman Neil Murray originally sprang from Victoria’s western district, but in the late 1970’s with guitar in hand he set course for the Northern Territory. He emerged at Papunya in 1980 as a founding member of the pioneering Warumpi Band, which over three albums (Big Name No Blankets, Go Bush and Too much Humbug) and twenty years of performing, thrust contemporary indigenous music into mainstream Australia, yielding such classic songs as My Island Home, Blackfella Whitefella, Fitzroy Crossing, Jailanguru Pakarnu, Stompin Ground, From The Bush and Waru.

"One of the finest songwriters this country has ever produced." - Rhythms

He has since become one of Australia’s finest singer/songwriters, enjoying a solo career since 1989. He has released a remarkable string of albums - the latest being The Telling, which marks a recording career of four decades.

His song writing is diverse- from the rollicking Good Light in Broome, the prayerful Native Born, and healing Myall Creek, the roots groove of Long Grass Band and Eddie Mabo, the journeyman monologues of Lights of Hay and Whispering Casuarina, the contemplation of place in Burrumbeep Hill, Bring Thunder & Rain and Fine Open Country (with Sammy Butcher) to the current singles Broken Landand Tears of Wybalena.

Collectively, Neil's work has done much to deepen Australia’s contemporary music heritage.

In 1995, Neil Murray was awarded the APRA song of the year for My Island Home originally written for the Warumpi Band and re-recorded by Christine Anu.My Island Home featured in the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics and the opening ceremony of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

In 2007, Jailanguru Pakarnu (Out From Jail), the Warumpi Band’s debut 1983 single, which was co-written with guitarist Sammy Butcher in the indigenous Luritja language- was honoured by the National Film And Sound Archives- "Sounds Of Australia" series- as a significant recording in Australia's heritage- (credited as the first commercially released pop rock single in an indigenous language.) In 2016 My Island Home- as recorded by Christine Anu- received the same honour.

In recognition of his influence, Neil Murray was awarded the 2017 Port Fairy Folk Festival Artist of the Year.

"There’s no shortage of substance or integrity in his songs." – The Australian

Neil Murray's songs have been recorded by Mary Black, Jimmy Little, Missy Higgins, Liz Stringer, Christine Anu, Peter Denahy, Carus, Adam Brand, Amy Saunders, Powderfinger, The Tiddas, Ursula Yovich, Peter Brandy, Emma Donovan, Liam Gerner and the Warumpi Band.

Released in April 2023, The Telling is his tenth original solo album of which Tears of Wybalena is the current single.

"Stand to be converted" – Australian Musician

"Neil Murray sings from the heart of the country." – Jim Moginie (Midnight Oil)


Neil MurrayPhoto by Jesse Marlow

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Photo by Bronwynne Kidson