Shelton Murray will accompany the Australian Chamber Orchestra on their American tour this month.

A 22-year old didgeridoo player, Shelton Murray, will visit America for the first time this year – joining the Australian Chamber Orchestra on its tour of The Reef Revisited.

Murray grew up in the Northern Territory’s Central Arnhem Land, where his passion for the didgeridoo came from his cultural heritage and family traditions. He began learning the instrument at the age of five from his father, Lazarus Murray, who studied with famous didgeridoo player David Blansi. Seventeen years on, and Murray is now joining one of the nation’s most accomplished ensembles, the Australian Chamber Orchestra in the U.S. to perform a live soundtrack for The Reef Revisited, a 2012 film production of surfing footage at Western Australia’s Ningallo Reef. “It’s exciting for me, travelling over to America, it’s going to be my first time,” he said in an interview with ABC. “I’m really looking forward to the States and meeting other people from different places.”

Richard Tognetti, lead violinist and artistic director of the ACO, is enthusiastic to have Murray joining the orchestra for its American tour. “When you have someone as pure, if I may use the word, in attitude to his instrument as Shelton, it’s quite interesting,” he said. “He’s bringing a traditional approach to the rhythms and his approach to playing this instrument.” 

Performing alongside the ACO is the latest accolade for the young instrumentalist, who in 2014 played didgeridoo for the opening act of the Tina Arena Darwin concert. Steve Pigram, known for his part in the Indigenous folk and rock band Pigram Brothers, is also part of the ACO and is proud of Murray’s success. “He’s coming through that thing of performing in a reggae rock band, same as what I did. But he’s got there a little quicker, to this kind of level, well it’s taken me 40 years.”  

Murray acknowledges that the journey has been all about having the right attitude. “It’s hard; you just have to be responsible about where you’re doing and stick to what you’re doing,” he said. “My message to the young Aboriginal people out there doing good things it to just keep doing it, follow your dreams, don’t let it go, don’t fall back, don’t worry about anything.”

The ACO will be performing in concert halls across Los Angeles, New York and Virginia from February 16 to February 20. 

Subscribe to Limelight - AWO Offer