Riverside Theatres Digital and Play On Presents
ARCHIE ROACH’S TELL ME WHY – ON DEMAND
Not many have lived as many lives – from stolen child, teenage alcoholic, seeker, lover, father, musical and lyrical genius, to social advocate and First Nations leader – but it took almost a lifetime to find who he really was.
He is Archie Roach.
His new memoir Tell Me Why (Simon and Schuster) is an intimate, moving and often confronting account of his resilience and strength of spirit, and also of a great love story. It’s an extraordinary odyssey of love and heartbreak, family and community, survival and renewal – and the healing power of music.
The companion album Tell Me Why (Bloodlines), considered Roach’s 18 song ‘magnum opus’, re-imagines eleven songs which have defined his extraordinary career, together with two songs, previously written but never recorded, two songs of early-influence and three brand new recordings.
Roach voices the joy, pain and hope he found on his path through these songs to become the legendary singer-songwriter and storyteller that he is today – beloved and respected by fans worldwide
How You Can Access
The performance will be accessible On Demand into your home. Please note, the performance date & time listed on the bookings page is the end date for this On Demand show. The link will be available from Friday 22 October at 10am – Sunday 7 November 2021 at 10pm only, on YouTube. This show is a streamed experience, and will not be available to view online after the event.
If you’re having issues connecting to our stream, click here to download our Streaming FAQ’s to help you.
Promotional Photos by Adrian Cook
The music of singer-songwriter Archie Roach has given voice to the pain, hope and pride of a generation. His talents have earned him a place among the most treasured musicians this country has produced.
Born in Mooroopna in 1955, Archie’s family lived on the Framlingham Aboriginal Mission near Warrnambool. He is one of the Stolen Generations, taken as a child from his mother, Nellie, a Gunditjmara woman, and father, Archie, a Bundjalung man from New South Wales.
Archie passed through several foster homes before being settled with the Cox family, who he acknowledges as having looked after him well. He learned the basics of keyboard and guitar from his foster-sister, Mary Cox. Too young to understand his situation, he was left to assume his biological parents had died.
The truth about his forced removal from his family was discovered when he was a teenager, in a letter from a sister he didn’t know he had. It brought news of the recent death of his mother. The revelation triggered an identity crisis that manifested itself in over a decade of alcoholism and periods of homelessness.
While living on the streets Archie met Ruby Hunter, a Ngarrindjeri woman from South Australia. He credits her as his saviour. Ruby was also of the Stolen Generations and a talented musician. The two soul mates embarked on a journey of healing through music. Years later, when they were married with a family of their own, their house would remain open to disadvantaged young people in need of the support they themselves had found in each other.
Archie caught the attention of musician Paul Kelly and his Messengers’ band mate, Steve Connolly, in 1989, with his song, Took the Children Away. An act of personal catharsis, its plaintive account of the removal of Aboriginal children from their families resonated across Australia and internationally. Many identified closely with Archie’s searing lyrics; many more could not help but be moved by them.
In 1990, Archie released his debut album, Charcoal Lane. Kelly and Connolly were producers. The album took its title from a laneway in Fitzroy — the heartland of Melbourne’s Aboriginal community — where Archie had, in more troubled times, idled away the hours drinking.
Charcoal Lane won two ARIA awards, a place among the US Rolling Stone’s top albums of 1992, and a Human Rights Achievement Award for Took The Children Away. It was the first time the award had been presented to a songwriter.
Over five additional albums – including Jamu Dreaming and Sensual Being – Archie continued his exploration of the issues affecting Aboriginal people in modern day Australia. This he does without judgement or agenda. As Archie tells it, “”I’m just saying this is what happened, you can take it or leave it.””
As a member of the Stolen Generations, Roach had a direct line to the pain and suffering indigenous families endured when children were taken from them. He condensed those emotions into a few minutes of music that stands as one of the great Australian humanitarian artistic statements. – The Australian
In the best singer-songwriter tradition, Charcoal Lane is deeply moving in both personal and political terms – US Rolling Stone
I’ve known Archie since the mid-90s, and we began working together in 2002, when he and Ruby Hunter created Ruby’s Story for the Australian Art Orchestra. He is an inspiring man: deep, thoughtful, taciturn. His songs ring with clarity, his voice richly textured; it is extraordinary to witness the magic he casts over an audience. We played a concert in late 2018 at UKARIA Cultural Centre, a beautiful room made for music in the Adelaide Hills. Archie told stories and sang and I accompanied him. Afterwards we talked late into the night; he had much to impart, as his memoir was occupying his mind. Everything he says is deeply considered. We returned to UKARIA a few months later to commence work on Tell Me Why. Those days spent with Archie are etched forever on my mind, and this album is my response to the enormity of his story and its resonances, and to the quiet pride and generosity of this remarkable man. – Paul Grabowsky