Archie Roach Biography

I thought writing the song Took The Children Away was, in part, a way of telling people that taking children from their families was not necessarily the best or only so-called solution concerning the child or their family’s well being. I was wrong. We thought the Bringing Them Home report would see measures taken to ensure it should never happen again. We were wrong. We thought the Deaths in Custody report would help prevent such things happening. We were wrong. The songs from Journey are a reaffirmation of identity, country, beliefs and spirit and how no one listened to our recommendations on stolen kids or people dying in jails. So it continues, but we are still watching and definitely taking note. Archie Roach. 2007

After a long absence Archie Roach returns with a sublime but powerful new album Journey and a series of shows to share the songs he describes as a reaffirmation of identity, country, beliefs and spirit.

Produced by Shane Howard and Engineered and Co-produced by Nash Chambers, the new album was recorded live in Melbourne’s Sing Sing studios. Many of the songs were inspired during a Journey that Archie took with English actor Pete Postlethwaite (In the Name of the Father, Brassed Off) and indigenous leader and Yawuru man, Patrick Dodson. They set out in the footsteps of a young indigenous man, Louis Johnson, over the troubled landscape of modern Aboriginal Australia in the hope of reawakening discussion of indigenous issues, and of Reconciliation.

It took them from the spiritual Ngurrarra paintings, south of Fitzroy Crossing, to the deaths in custody in the jails of Roebourne and Fremantle. It continued through the desert country of Central Australia and the inevitable connection back to Archie’s home country of the Gunditjmara/Kirrae Whurrong of South West Victoria.

Captured on film the documentary ‘Liyarn Ngarn’ is a compelling tale of racism and a plea for a new future in black/white relations in Australia. In the language of the Yawuru people of the West Kimberley region around Broome, Liyarn Ngarn means ‘Coming Together of the Spirit’ or spiritual bonding.

It epitomizes a thirty year long mission of Patrick Dodson, to bring about a lasting and true Reconciliation between the original owners of this country and the later settlers and immigrants. It also offers some kind of meaningful epitaph to the Indigenous lives lost through sheer inhumanity.

For a limited time Journey contains a bonus DVD of the Liyarn Ngarn film. Archie Roach has seen a lot, some would say too much hurt, but still these holy songs from Journey reach out to bridge the divide between black and white. They are prayers for forgiveness and understanding. Archie Roach turns suffering into hope and art. Australia needs these songs right now. Black and white. We all need to be healed and reassured by one of Australia’s great songwriters and singers. And Archie Roach is a unique voice in the league of Ray Charles, John Lee Hooker or George Jones.

This album soars. It also stills you in the eternal moment of dreaming. Songs of pain, loss, racism, redemption and hope. These songs are a marriage of Aboriginal and Western philosophy from the heart and mind of an extraordinary writer and singer. An elder statesman of Aboriginal music, Archie takes us on a Journey of epic dimensions but the music and the message are absolutely clear and uncomplicated. Journey features special guest appearances by Troy Cassar-Daley, Paul Kelly, David Bridie, Shane Howard and The Pigram Brothers. Archie Roach will tour his new album Journey with special guest performers Shane Howard, Dave Arden and Amos Roach.
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