Murli la


A joint project with the Indigenous Literary Foundation, Murli la is a beautifully designed gift book that celebrates the culture of the Tiwi Islands through song. The songs presented in this book hold cultural, genealogical, geographical and spiritual knowledge that has been passed down through thousands of years of Tiwi storytelling, ceremony and in the songlines that circle the islands. 

As custodians of the songs, the Ngarukuruwala Women’s Group in partnership with Dr Genevieve Campbell have recorded over 40 songs in language for the first time – each with an introduction and English translation. A one-of-a-kind map of the islands, with areas marked in language, provides a snapshot into the richness of Tiwi culture.

Dr Campbell shares beautiful insights into the Tiwi Islands and her words are accompanied by stunning photographs from the time she has spent with the women. Murli la is the essential introduction to the wonderfully rich Tiwi culture and a glimpse into many lifetimes of sung knowledge.


The Ngarukuruwala Women’s Group from the Tiwi Islands have been sisters and friends all their lives. As young women they composed songs to pass on the stories of their islands, culture and ancestors. As Elders and mentors in their community, they draw on the old ways of Tiwi song traditions to help young Tiwi people connect with their language and cultural identity, also creating new songs. The women have performed at the Sydney Opera House, the National Gallery of Australia and the National Film and Sound Archive, and feature in the Australian feature film Top End Wedding.

Dr Genevieve Campbell met the Ngarukuruwala Women’s Group in 2007 and with them co-founded Ngarukuruwala (We Sing), bringing Tiwi and non-Tiwi musicians together in collaborative composition, performance and recording of Tiwi songs. Over a decade, Dr Campbell became closely involved in helping Tiwi song custodians preserve and maintain traditions of song composition and Tiwi language.