Iconic indigenous singer-songwriter Archie Roach was propelled into the national consciousness, and musical spokesperson for the Stolen Generation with his remarkable 1990 song Took The Children Away.
Fast-forward nearly 30 years and Archie is still an avid campaigner for the rights of indigenous Australians as well as being of the top of his game in the songwriting stakes.
The latter fact evidenced by Archie’s remarkable return to form with 2012’s Into The Bloodstream, and subsequent albums Let Love Rule (2016) and Dancing With My Spirit (2018).
With the stage now etched into Archie’s DNA he is getting set to release his first live collection – a three-disc slab that celebrates special performances culled from the touring cycles of that trio of albums.
“I and never released anything live before so I thought it was probably time to fix that,” Archie told Newcastle Live.
“Those shows were really special and great to be a part of. Also there’s something about a live setting you can’t get in the studio – the connection that’s been built up between me and the audience over the years. It’s about more than just me getting up on a stage.”
Archie will be returning to Newcastle to play a show in which he will perform selected cuts from his The Concert Collection 2012-2018 at 48 Watt Street – a venue almost purpose built for Archie’s brand of lilting balladry.
He said that his shows were all about building a connection with an audience adding that he hoped and Archie Roach show helped to transcend societal boundaries.
“We’re all in the same boat, especially in Australia – there are many sides to our coin but at our heart we are one people and that’s one message I really want to get across.”
“It’s al about connection and the fact that we all should be looking after each other regardless of race, religion or anything else.”
Archie’s “message” has seen him nab a Human Rights Award for the honest and heartbreakingTook the Children Away and he said that while he was proud of what the song had achieved, he initially had no idea of its power.
“I didn’t realise the full extent of what was to take place – I wasn’t prepared for it,” he said.
“One of my uncles said that I should write a song about being stolen so I did and I am really proud that my words helped to start a national conversation.”
Catch Archie Roach when he plays at 48 Watt Street on Saturday 27 April. Doors open at 6pm for dinner and the show kicks off at 7.30pm. Get your tickets here.