His namesake the Murray river, is otherwise known as the food bowl of Australia, similarly Neil Murray could be referred to as our thought bowl. Neil has embraced indigenous culture and in doing so, has in his music, sought to educate us on an important part of what it means to be Australian.
Singer/songwriter Neil Murray made a return to Tasmania last week to play some shows as part of his present Australian tour.
Neil usually visits Tasmania about once a year but says, when we chat, that it is possibly two years since he was here last.
Neil is probably known most for being part of the band Warumpi that began in Papunya, Northern Territory. The name Warumpi comes from the site near by the settlement. It is the area of the honey ant dreaming. The honey ant lives under the ground creating the most delicious honey. It is indeed an apt name for the honeyed voices of Warumpi.
The concept of ‘dreaming’ enters the conversation again. As we talk Neil remarks that one of Warrumpi’s most famous songs ‘My Island Home’ has a universal appeal for anyone dreaming of returning home and it is in that dream of returning home for Neil himself, that the song had it’s genesis. Neil was leaving Papayna a place that had become home to him and was returning to Sydney when he thought of how he would miss his now true home of Papayna. Indigenous culture shows us that the idea of missing a place works the other way too, where a place can miss a person. Neil talks about a place remembering a person and in a sense it is that remembering that calls a person back . It is stories like this that Neil quotes that show his deep love of the Northern Territory and it’s indigenous culture. A culture that gives everyday life a rich extra dimension.
Neil believes ‘My Island Home’ holds a special resonance for somewhere like Tasmania and in the celebration of arts and creativity of an island people and he informs me that the song has been used as part of the 10 days on the Island festival in the past.
Neil wants to write more songs and to return to study, but not as the art students he originally started out as, instead he wants to learn more about Indigenous culture and help educate Australians about this important part of being Australian. One such aspect is the kinship found in indigenous culture where the position of close relative such as aunt can be considered ‘second mother’. You can purchase Neil’s new album ‘Sing the Song’ available at ABC shops and can also see Neil performing on his present tour of Australia.
Neil’s tour to date and future dates are as follows:
3 Feb Coal Valley Vineyard
4 Feb 8pm Brookefield Vineyard
12 Feb 2pm-5pm Way Out West Roots Music Club
18 Feb Mount Rouse Music Festival
3 Mar Nannup Music Festival
4 Mar 2pm Fremantle Arts Centre WA
24 Mar Lake Bolac Eel Festival
30 Mar Piping Hot Chicken Shop
25 May Araluen Art Centre