Matthew O’Neill is a musical artist and performer based in the Catskill mountains. His musical practice is rooted in Indigenous musical ontologies; ways of knowing and participation through sound. He is committed to restoring the central role of music in maintaining relationship, balance, resilience, innovation and thriving in harmony with Mother Earth and the Cosmos. The result is a dynamic feeling of connection to living systems and a sense of empowered resistance to outdated destructive paradigms. His albums have received critical acclaim and he has collaborated with many world class and award winning musicians and engineers.
His work offers gratitude and appreciation as per the original instructions, carrying out the responsibility of musical reciprocity. Kinship with non-human relatives is a central theme. He speaks out against the injustices that are clear to see and acknowledges the necessity to always give space for humor, a form of medicine like music. Matthew has an academic background that includes wisdom traditions, musical ethnography, soundscape ecology, cultural anthropology, and history. He started and runs an Indigenous based music label called Underwater Panther Coalition which focuses on decolonizing music and listening modalities while directly supporting native artists and their communities. His mission is to help connect people to Mother Earth through music and fulfill obligations of reciprocity through sound, prayer, and action. He is actively engaged in supporting Indigenous rights, land rights, and connecting culture back to the land.
O’Neill’s songwriting acknowledges the interconnectedness of all things and often features poetic allegory centering on non-anthropocentric articulations of gratitude, joy, suffering, celebration, and loss. Decolonizing music is a central commitment. Matthew also has an intersectional skill set outside of music that weaves into his work.