For Marlon Motlop (AKA MRLN), a charismatic young man from an ancient culture, music has always been an important part of life. The son of musical parents, Marlon uses music to reflect his life experiences and understand the realities that play out around him. Themes of persistence, love, humanity and culture weave through his lyrics and melodies. Born and bred in Darwin, Northern Territory, Marlon is of Aboriginal Larrakia, Kungarrakany and Thursday Island heritage. His deep love for family and country are the foundation of his perspective that we all need to share positive energy and grow together. An emerging talent, tackling music after a professional football career with Glenelg FC, Marlon has big ambitions for the music industry.
RKM is Adelaide based MC Rulla Kelly-Mansell, a Tulampunga Pakana man from Kooparoona Niara, Lutruwita (Tasmania) who grew up connected to country and is a truly unique storyteller. After a strong football career and national touring as a dancer all over Australia’s music scene, Rulla was forced to reflect during time away from family through COVID-19 and the shocking diagnosis of a rare and aggressive cancer. Music supported Rulla consistently through treatment and resonated with his deeper purpose as Storyteller. “I have always been in love with music but never pursued it until now”, he says. Rulla’s treatment was successful and now he’s writing and performing as RKM: a voice for his generation, for his people.
Together, MRLN and RKM make music that's thoughtful, empowering and smooth, mixing rap and storytelling with a soulful voice like no other. The duo have been taking part in the inaugural WOMADelaide x NSS Academy, an exciting music development program for emerging South Australian First Nations and multicultural artists. For WOMADelaide, they will be joined by local musicians Grayson Rotumah, Roland Ahchee, Nathan Rigney and Nathan May. Selected from the Academy as the opening act for Vika & Linda and Midnight Oil, the audience of 6,000 will represent by far the biggest show of their career to date.
The WOMADelaide x NSS Academy is a WOMADelaide Foundation project receiving assistance from the Government of South Australia, the Federal Government’s Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) fund, with support from the City of Playford and NSS.