Neil Morris

Announcement: Neil Morris, First Nations Curator 2024

Melbourne Recital Centre welcomes Yorta Yorta poet, musician, community-based activist and broadcaster Neil Morris as First Nations Curator for 2024 program.

Neil Morris (Still Here Arts & Culture) is Melbourne Recital Centre’s First Nations Curator for 2024.

Neil Morris is a multilineal Koorie person with connections that stretch from the Kulin Nation to the south, Worimi & Biripi lands to the north, Wotjabaluk to the south west & Yorta Yorta woka where he was born,raised,based and descended of. He is a cultural custodian through baiyiya/song. poetry, broadcasting and other mediums of story telling and First Nations cultural advocacy work.

Titled Future/Present, Neil says:

Future/Present represents the reality that Indigenous people are, by inherent nature of cultural practice and expression, placed in the Future while situated in the Present. Future/Present is thus the sustaining of cultural expression now which is intrinsically tied to Future moments of cultural continuum. This series features First Nations practitioners of song who represent their own distinct evocative examples of a Future/Present.

To open his Future/Present program, Neil has selected:

Ya Tseen (Alaska)

Friday 31 May 7.30pm | Elisabeth Murdoch Hall

Ya Tseen is the Indigenous electro-soul moniker of Alaska’s Nicholas Galanin, one of the most vital voices in contemporary art and music today. 

Born in Sitka, Alaska, Galanin is Tlingit (Klinkit) and Unangax (Oo-nun-gahx) and creates art from his perspective as an Indigenous man. Spanning sculpture, video, installation, photography, jewellery and music, he explores and advocates for Indigenous sovereignty, racial, social, and environmental justice for present and future generations through his multi-disciplinary work. 

Indian Yard is Ya Tseen’s debut album for Sub Pop, but this is far from Galanin’s first album. He has released a stream of records under an array of aliases, including Silver Jackson and Indian Agent. Rich with emotional range and sharp awareness, Indian Yard is a profound record of liberation and an implicit act of protest, making its case by facing the intersection of past, present, and future realities. Collaborating with a cast of friends and fellow music-makers including bandmates Zak Wass and Otis Calvin III, plus Benjamin Verdoes, Shabazz Palaces, Nick Hakim and fellow Indigenous Alaskan singer and songwriter Qacung, Indian Yard is a cascade of intensely current pop wonders. Oscillating artfully between lusty electro-soul, lithe funk frolicking and compelling intensity, Ya Tseen is spurring a vital contemporary musical conversation alongside the likes of Moses Sumney, TV on the Radio, FKA Twigs and James Blake.  

Overflowing with authenticity, socio-political resonance, and humanity, Ya Tseen is an essential musical experience for those who are globally conscious and creatively curious.

Click here to find out more and stay tuned for more Future/Present acts to be announced in coming months.

Presented by Melbourne Recital Centre, in collaboration with Still Here Arts & Culture

At the special invitation of Melbourne Recital Centre, Neil Morris will perform:


Saturday 31 August 7pm | Primrose Potter Salon

Experience MINYERRA – a sonic odyssey, a meeting of country and convergence of analog synth textures by Neil Morris, aka DRMNGNOW.

Set against the backdrop of Kaieltheban land, MINYERRA is a sacred narrative woven from the essence of biyala and wala – the ancestral redgum and waters that flow with ancient wisdom.

Featuring intricate sound collages, atmospheric textures, ethereal electronica, pulsing rhythmic voicings and percussion, Morris invites audiences to explore the liminal spaces between woka (country) yenbena (ancestors) and mulana (spirit) of all living beings on Yorta Yorta land.

Experience soundscapes that transcend the boundaries of time and space in a testament to kinship and homage to woka-country, ancestors, and spirits.

MINYERRA pushes the boundaries of analog synthesis while honouring the deep-rooted song patterns and vocal structures of Morris’ Indigenous heritage and his inherent ties to country.

Delve into a rare and enriching experience to engage with Neil Morris, pioneering First Nations curator whose profound artistic advocacy and groundbreaking musicality converge in the electrifying and essential soundscape of MINYERRA.

Click here to find out more.

Presented by Melbourne Recital Centre.

Built upon a foundation of fostering cultural exchange and nurturing connections, First Nations artists participating in Future/Present will have the opportunity to engage in immersive experiences with Neil on his ancestral land. Among them is Alaskan native Ya Tseen, who will embark on an enriching journey spending several days on Yorta Yorta country alongside Neil, fostering meaningful exchanges and deepening the bonds between diverse Indigenous cultures.

Melbourne Recital Centre’s commitment to amplifying First Nations voices and experiences is ingrained within its cultural fabric. In 2016, the Centre introduced the Yinga-bul (‘singing to people’) program, an initiative born out of extensive dialogue and collaboration with First Nations artists. Notable curators such as Jessie Lloyd (2016 and 2018) and Dr. Lou Bennett AM (whose involvement, unfortunately, faced disruption due to the pandemic) have lent their expertise to this offering.

Furthermore, the Centre’s partnership with the City of Melbourne on the Yirramboi Festival fostered Indigenous creativity and expression. Past collaborations with visionary curator Neil Morris for the acclaimed Sanctuary experience in 2022 exemplify the Centre’s commitment to showcasing Indigenous talent. As we forge ahead, First Nations programming remains an integral cornerstone of Melbourne Recital Centre’s offerings, poised to continue shaping and enriching our collective cultural landscape well into the future.