Australian music: A focus on Indigenous Australian music

Matthew Doyle is a descendent of the Muruwari people near Lightning Ridge in NSW and grew up in Southern Sydney on Dharawal land. He studied and performed with the Aboriginal Islander Dance Theatre from an early age, and in 1990 was a founding member of their professional company.

Matthew is one of Australia’s leading Aboriginal artists, performing to audiences all over the world. His collaborations include with the Bangarra Dance Theatre, Christine Anu, Michael Atherton, Yothu Yindi and Riley Lee. His performances range from the opening ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and World Expo 2006 in Japan to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 2007 for the 75th Birthday celebrations. His CDs include Lyrebird (1996), Wild Honey Dreaming with Riley Lee (1993) and Lightning Man (2008).


This resource is intended primarily for students of Music in Stage 4 and can be adapted for students in Stage 5 and Stage 6 Music 1.

In the opening section Matthew teaches a Welcome Song he wrote in Dharawhal language. A welcome song is usually sung by the local Aboriginal people to welcome visitors to their country. Matthew has given permission for his welcome song to be used in various locations and sung in different local Aboriginal languages.

There are three series of videos in this resource.  The second series consists of excerpts from an interview with Matthew in which he explains the use of vocables in Aboriginal music and dance and demonstrates how they are used to produce sound on the didjeridoo and punctuate dance movements.

The third video shows Matthew Doyle and Riley Lee collaborating in performance of their composition “Spirit’s Dance: the Wind of Change’. These videos support the resource Music of our place from the Centre for Learning Innovation, available for download from Tale.