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Lore of the Land

Archie Roach

Archie Roach

Archie Roach is a singer and songwriter of remarkable strengths and insights. A story teller in the tradition of his ancestors, Archie relays and retells intimate real life stories as well as traditional stories of the Dreaming. Having survived a personal history that would have left most artists scarred and defeated, Archie Roach has emerged as an extraordinarily gifted Australian artist with a truly visionary talent.

Archie was born at Framlingham Aboriginal mission, located near Warrnambool in southwestern Victoria. At any early age, Archie was taken from his family, part of the stolen generation and spent quite some time in institutions before being fostered by a non-Indigenous family in Melbourne. Archie grew up and left home to find himself and his people. He spent many years on the streets of Melbourne and Adelaide searching for his identity and his place in the world. Archie met up with Ruby Hunter, his lifelong partner during this time and together they have made a home for their children and continue to make music together.

In the late 1980's Archie formed Altogether, a band of emerging Aboriginal musicians who played at community festivals and functions in and around Melbourne.

In 1990, Archie recorded Charcoal Lane. Produced by Paul Kelly and Steve Connolly, This album featured the Aboriginal anthem Took the Children Away. This song tells of the forced separation of children from their parents, as was done to thousands of Aboriginal children during the implementation of the government's assimilation policies. Many Aboriginal people identify strongly with the story carried by this song. It won two Aria Awards and a Human Rights Award. It was the first time a Human Rights award had been presented to a songwriter. It was in the US Rolling Stone's Top 50 albums for 1992. It has now gone gold in Australia.

In 1992 Archie recorded Jamu Dreaming, Released in 1993, this album was recorded with musical assistance from David Bridie, Tiddas, Paul Kelly, Linda and Vika Bull and Joe Geia. Jamu Dreaming was nominated for an Aria Award in 1994 and was in Australia's Top 40.

Released in July 1997, Archie's latest recording, Looking for Butter Boy was recorded on his traditional lands at Port Fairy in South-Western Victoria. This album was produced by internationally acclaimed producer Malcolm Burn who says that he'd " ... definitely put Archie in with the great singers. There's not many of them in the world, I think there might be 30". This album won three Aria Awards in 1998.

Archie Roach

Over the past decade Archie has consistently and extensively toured Australia including participating in regional Indigenous cultural festivals in every state. As with many Indigenous artists, Archie has contributed to many benefit concerts and to raising awareness about issues of equality and justice that affect the whole community. Archie has toured with Paul Kelly, Weddings Parties Anything, Crowded House and international artists Billy Bragg, Tracy Chapman, Suzanne Vega and Patti Smith.

In 1992 Archie toured America, supporting Joan Armatrading and Bob Dylan returning there in 1993 as invited guests at Austin's South X South West music convention. In 1993, Archie featured at the Corroboree Festival in London's Southbank Centre and returned in 1994 to tour the UK and Germany.

In May 1995 Archie, along with Ruby Hunter, Tiddas and Kev Carmody toured to Canada's Music West Convention in Vancouver and travelled on to Europe for a major European tour. In 1997 Archie returned to Europe and went on to tour China, Japan and Taiwan. He then undertook a 6 week tour of remote Aboriginal communities in Cape York.

In 1994, Harpers Collins published an anthology of Archie's lyrics called You Have the Power. In 1999 Archie completed a feature documentary on the stolen generation. Land of Little Kings will air on SBS in May 2000 and be screened overseas. He is planning to record his fourth album in early 2000.


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Balgo Artists


Andy Alberts
Uncle Banjo Clarke
Brett Clarke
Richard Frankland
Shane Howard
Lee Morgan
Neil Murray
Archie Roach

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