Bangarra Dance Theatre: Dubboo - Life of a Songman

 A still from Dubboo - Life of a Songman

A still from Dubboo - Life of a Songman

Last week Archie joined Bangarra Dance Theatre's deeply moving tribute to David Page, the company's music director, who sadly passed in 2016.

Dubboo - Life of a Songman celebrated the life and works of David considered the “musical heartbeat of Bangarra Dance Theatre.” He reinvented the art of the soundtrack to encompass traditional language, song and instruments with the sounds of electronica, hip-hop, classical and the natural world.

The show was a tribute and a memorial, but most of all an overwhelmingly joyous celebration of his life.

Archie performed two powerful songs from the 2000 Bangarra production of  Skin/Spear.

Archie Roach wins Lifetime Achievement Award at the Dreamtime Awards 2018

 Archie accepting his award for Lifetime Achievement at the 2018 Dreamtime Awards.

Archie accepting his award for Lifetime Achievement at the 2018 Dreamtime Awards.

Archie was recently awarded the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 Dreamtime Awards held in Sydney in November. Archie took to stage to accept this award and to acknowledge the sacred bond that unites First Nations peoples. "I just want to let people understand, the great love that we (First Nations Peoples) have for each other and how that love has kept us strong,” Archie said in his speech. "Doesn't matter what anybody says, our love will always keep us strong and our love will always lead the way.” 

Liyarn Ngarn documentary released in 2007 Now Available for sale all proceeds to archie roach foundation


Archie’s story behind his 2007 album, JOURNEY and the companion DVD, Liyarn Ngarn.

“I think it was in 2005 that I was sitting at my brother-in-law’s place in Adelaide waiting for my friend Bill Johnson and others to arrive from Western Australia. Bill had contacted me earlier that year to talk about an idea he had for doing a film about the life and tragic death of his adopted Aboriginal son, Louis. When Bill arrived with two other gentlemen I greeted him warmly introducing him to my brothers-in-law, Wally and Jeff, as he in turn introduced us to his companions, Steve and Pete. 

It was the bloke called Pete who we took particular notice of. There was something oddly familiar about his face, a face full of character. As I shook his hand I could not take my eyes off that face. Where have I seen that face before I thought? Only it wasn’t a thought it was a question. “I don’t know,” he replied with a cheeky glint in his eye. “Where have you seen me before?” Bill interrupted our puzzling as he outlined what he would like me to become involved with and why they were there. The film was going to be not just about his adopted son but also about race relations between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australia - how it was, where it was now and where it was heading. They wanted me to accompany Pete, an Englishman, and guide him through certain parts of Aboriginal Australia to see first hand what many tourists might not.

The other bloke, Steve, would be the scriptwriter. When Bill finished explaining we still could not help passing curious glances at Pete, wondering where we had seen this Englishman before. When they left Jeff said “I saw that fella on The Bill. That’s it I have seen him on some British TV series or film his face was so familiar.”

It wasn’t until we started our trip and filming at Bill’s place in and around Perth’s exclusive beachside suburbs that I realised that Pete was the famous English actor, Pete Postlethwaite who acted in films such as In The Name of the Father, Brassed Off, Romeo and Juliet, Last of the Mohicans and many more.

We filmed as we talked of Louis’s life, when and where he was adopted, about his growing up and when he started to paint. We also talked about his tragic death, which was racially motivated, by the roadside where he was beaten and run over. Then it was time for Pete and I to head to Fremantle to visit Fremantle Prison where poet and singer songwriter, Robbie Walker, died in custody in 1984. Pete read one of Rob’s poems in the cell where Walker spent his last night on earth while I sang a song, a Kevin Gilbert poem I had put a tune to. 

Next we travelled to Alice Springs where Louis was born and visited the town camp where his birth mother was from, the Little Sisters town camp. Pete was filmed talking to Louis’s family about how they felt when Louis, who was born Warren Braeden, was taken to be adopted and if they thought it was the best thing for him. 

The travel and the film’s content was starting to take its toll on Pete and myself. We were feeling pretty knocked around by what we had seen and heard. Thank God we took a break now and then and retreated to the beautiful suburb of Wattle Grove, where we’d frequent the Kalamunda Hotel in the hills overlooking Perth and feast on their famous Guinness Pies.

After resting and planning our next move we travelled to Broome where we met up with Aboriginal leader, Patrick Dodson, who also appears in the film, giving it the political power it needed. After Broome we travelled to Fitzroy Crossing in the Kimberley and into the desert where we met up with some tribal elders at a place called Lumpu Lumpu. We were invited to sit around the fire that night while they sang songs in their language, a most memorable night. We slept out under the most amazing star-studded sky and next morning we were shown a beautiful painting. It was a painting of their country, which you could sit on and walk through while each of the elders would speak of their particular land. It was used as their native title claim. We then left the old people and went back to Broome where we finished filming. 

I wrote a few songs while travelling and filming the story. One was in Alice Springs called Little Sisters, three at Wattle Grove, Lighthouse, Too Many Bridges and Spirit of Place, and one in Broome called Liyarn Ngarn which also became the name for the film. Along with some poems I had put tunes to, these songs became the album Journey that was released in 2007.

Simon & Schuster Australia acquires memoir of Australian legend Archie Roach

35e76a04dc26698f514c951d0d081938.jpeg

Simon & Schuster Australia is proud and excited to announce the publication of the memoir of Archie Roach, one of Australia’s most important and cherished voices. World rights for the memoir, yet to be titled, were acquired in a hotly contested auction via Clare Forster at Curtis Brown Australia and will be published on 1 November 2019.

Archie Roach is best known as a singer and songwriter but he is also widely recognised as a campaigner for the rights of First Nations people, especially those who are part of the Stolen Generations. Archie himself was only four years old when he was forcibly removed from his family and made a ward of the state. From the release of his critically acclaimed, multi award-winning debut album Charcoal Lane in 1990 to his most recent album Dancing with My Spirit, Archie’s inspired and affecting musical and songwriting talent is considered one of the most important worldwide in expressing the issues facing First Nations people, with none more richly told than in one of his most powerful songs, Took the Children Away.

Simon & Schuster’s vision for this memoir is to bring Archie’s extraordinary life story to all Australians and leave a lasting legacy for generations of future readers. His story is not only a lightning rod for the issues that we all face about our nation and the survival and optimism of First Nations Australians, but more importantly a powerful, passionate and moving personal story of music, family, love, loss and renewal.

Archie says, ‘I feel that it’s a good time to tell my story now so people may understand the journey that I have taken in life, not necessarily as a First Nations person, nor a member of the Stolen Generations, but as an Australian. And in doing so I hope that it would be seen as a testament to overcoming enormous odds and to the enduring strength of the human spirit.’

Publisher Roberta Ivers says, ‘I’m so honoured to be publishing the great Archie Roach’s memoir. The story of his extraordinary life and music is one of breathtaking resilience and strength, of his urgent quest for identity, home and community, but it’s also a moving love story, a journey of pain and heartbreak, and one of shining hope and regeneration, too. He truly is the beating heart of our country.’

In recognition of Archie’s tireless contribution in giving back to his community, Simon & Schuster Australia have made a donation to the Archie Roach Foundation so that Archie’s great work continues with young artists needing direction and support.

Canada Tour 2018

For the month of July this year, I toured through three Canadian states performing at summer music festivals in Winnipeg, Vancouver, Calgary, Bella Coola and Harrison, made possible by the support of the Canadian Council for the Arts. Along the way we met so many wonderful First Nations performers, community members and Hereditary Chiefs and clocked around 5000 kms driving through some of the most spectacular country I have ever seen. I felt so welcomed by everyone we met along the way and was honored to have spent meaningful time with so many First Nations people. My spirit was filled to overflowing. One performer, Leonard Sumner, I had the opportunity to see perform at several of the festivals I was also performing at. Leonard has just visited me at home in south west Victoria and we had the best yarns from our time together... 

A big shout out to all our friends from the Nuxalk Nation Bella Coola BC, especially Peter Tallio, Health Director at Nuxalk Health and Wellness and Noel Scott Pootlass, Nuxalk Artist Chief Nuximlayc, Sheldon from Nuxalk Radio 91.1 FM and Clyde from Copper Sun Gallery & Journeys Petroglyph Tour.

To Dr Reg Crowshoe, Elder and leader from the Piikani nation of the Blackfoot Confederacy and his wife, Rosie, who transferred a name to me at the Calgary Folk Music Festival, and gifted me with a robe to keep my voice strong, Amy Willier and Curtis Lefthand (both members of the newly appointed Calgary Folk Festival Indigenous Advisory Group).

To David McLeod the CEO of Winnipeg's First Nations radio station, NCI FM - The Spirit of Manitoba, Alan Greyeyes and Destiny for connecting us all. Many beautiful connections made with other First Nations musicians, Leonard SumnernêhiyawakA Tribe Called Red and importantly a deeply moving Welcoming Ceremony at the Winnipeg Folk Festival in Manitoba led by Anishinaabe Elder Sherry Copenace.

You will all be in my heart forever.

Limited Edition Archie Roach Portrait by Robert Henderson

Archie Roach and Wiradjuri artist, Robert Henderson have donated signed Limited Edition Prints of Robert’s portrait of Archie to The Archie Roach Foundation and The Wayne Weaver Foundation in support of First Nations families and communities.

These special numbered, signed and catalogued prints are $310 (including postage and handling) and was Robert Henderson’s 2014 Archibald Prize entry.

What happens to your donation?

Profits from the donations received will be split equally between the two Foundations to enable them to continue their important work in First Nations communities.

What does the Archie Roach Foundation do?

The Archie Roach Foundation was established in 2014 to nurture meaningful and potentially life changing opportunities for First Nations artists. 

The Foundation seeks to walk alongside those working in the arts and young people heading down the wrong track just like Archie was, to support them to be the best that they can be. 

Archie knows what it means to have someone walk beside you at key crossroads in your life; to help point you in a deadly direction and empower you to take the next positive step.

He also understands the power of music and storytelling to communicate, connect and heal and is committed to helping others share their story which creates a stronger, more cohesive culturally respectful national story.

What does The Wayne Weaver Foundation do?

The Wayne Weaver Foundation was founded in early 2018 in support of bereaved First Nations families and communities. The Foundation supports the cost of funerals, transport, coffins, and gravestones.

The Wayne Weaver Foundation is focussed on protecting and conserving the social and cultural bonds and traditions of First Nations people, their families and communities at times of bereavement by providing the support, resources and follow up necessary to attend and participate in funeral ceremonies.

Donate now

Receive a stunning Limited Edition print of Archie Roach by Wiradjuri artist, Robert Henderson. Each print is reproduced on quality art paper, is individually numbered and signed by Archie and Robert.

A limited number of prints are available. To donate, contact us now at:

info.wayneweaverfoundation@gmail.com or

foundation@archieroach.com.au