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Neil Murray, Bolac, VIC
, 2004

by John Elliott

type C photograph (sheet: 60.7 cm x 50.6 cm, image: 47.8 cm x 36.0 cm)

Singer-songwriter Neil Murray was born in Lake Bolac in western Victoria. As a young man he conceived a passionate interest in Australia's Aboriginal cultures. In the early 1980s he teamed with members of the Northern Territory's Papunya community to form the Warumpi Band. The group would record the first ever rock song in an Aboriginal language - 1983's "Jailanguru Pakarnu" - and would go on to tour with Midnight Oil. In 1989 Neil launched a solo career with the album Calm and Crystal Clear. Four further solo albums have followed, including the recent Going the Distance. In 1995 he received an APRA Song of the Year award for "My Island Home" - originally written for the Warumpi Band, the song had become a hit for Cristine Anu. In the same year a reformed Warumpi Band toured Europe and recorded the album Too Much Humbug. Neil Murray is also the author of a novel (Sing for Me Countryman) a play (King for This Place) and the book of poetry One Man Tribe (1999). An album of his Greatest Hits is due in 2005.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift of the artist 2005
Accession number: 2005.44