A Bundjalung / Gunditjmara man, Archie Roach, OAM is one of Australia’s beloved, respected and admired singer/songwriters with a voice and sensibility that is this country’s most important song line.
A venerable and dignified performer, he captured the hearts and minds of a nation in 1990 with Charcoal Lane and the landmark song ‘Took the Children Away’. Now, celebrating the 25th anniversary of Charcoal Lane, which includes theoriginal album remastered plus newly recorded versions of Charcoal Lane material by Paul Kelly & Courtney Barnett, Briggs, Gurrumuland Dewayne Everett-Smith, Dan Sultan & Emma Donovan and others, plus 1990 Triple J ‘Live at the Wireless’ recordings, he has made a triumphant return from incredible adversity and personal pain, bold enough to come back to the stage and the spotlight and tell us what he has learned.
Charcoal Lane won two ARIA awards, gold status in Australia, was acclaimed in US Rolling Stone’s Top 50 Albums for 1992, and entered into the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA)’s prestigious ‘Sounds of Australia’ register. Looking back, it may mean more that Archie’s truthful song and the humanity that made Paul Kelly and Steve Connolly want to produce this first album was honoured with a Human Rights Award. This was a first in Australia. Archie humbly came to understand the special power of music to make people listen, think and feel so very deeply.
The secret beating heart of Archie Roach’s music is the connection to his country and people. Archie’s voice, with a tremor like broken moonlight, washes in across the southern ocean.
Influenced by gospel, jazz and especially the soulful American singers like Sam Cooke and Nat King Cole, he was early inspired as a child by a Hank Williams song and that, Archie says, made him pick up a guitar and in time become a song writer.
He has travelled the world performing with the likes of Paul Kelly, Joan Armatrading, Bob Dylan, Billy Bragg, Tracy Chapman, Suzanne Vega, Patti Smith and Crowded House, and performed an unforgettable tribute the late Uncle Jimmy Little at The Sydney Opera House.
Archie’s songs bring audiences together to think of the hurt we cause one another but also the forgiveness that heals and lets us rise above it all.
Archie will performing his moving, heartfelt songs at Bluesfest, and appear in conversation in the Boomerang Precinct.