Archie Roach (Australia)
Second chances in this old world are rare, so when they come along they are to be cherished. Such is certainly the case with “the elder statesman of Indigenous music”, Archie Roach, after circumstances checked his planned 2017 appearance. Fortune is indeed shining upon us as we eagerly anticipate this extraordinary artist and activist’s visit to the 2018 VFMF.
He was born in Framlingham Aboriginal Mission, near Warrnambool in Victoria province, Australia, in 1956. One of the “Stolen Generation” of children taken from his family and placed in a non-Indigenous household to be raised, Archie survived a turbulent upbringing to develop into a powerful voice for Indigenous Australians.
His singer-songwriting career began in the early 1990’s with a folk-inspired sound that was fused with traditions from his heritage. Roach’s debut album, “Charcoal Lane” was named one of Rolling Stone Magazine’s Top 50 albums (1992). His heartbreaking ballad, Took the Child Away, based on his own story, was a powerful statement that resonated at home and around the globe.
He spent the next years recording, performing and touring with acts like Joan Armatrading, Bob Dylan, Billy Bragg and Patti Smith. He and his long-time life and musical partner, Ruby Hunter, established themselves as leading lights of Australian folk and aboriginal music.
Roach’s life experiences have challenged him. He’s had triumphs, setbacks, and suffered great loss when Ruby passed in 2010 – but his music, his will, his dedication has survived. He released “Dancing (with my Spirit)” in 2017 – revisiting songs recorded 20 years ago.
A storyteller in the tradition of his ancestors, Archie Roach is an advocate, mentor, and role model as well as an internationally-respected artist whose music and message have moved and inspired generations. We’re thrilled to finally welcome his powerful voice to the 2018 VFMF.