Australia’s Aboriginal singer Archie Roach visits the Famous Spiegeltent at Edinburgh Festival Fringe on August 16 & 17
Anyone familiar with Australia’s Aboriginal history will undoubtedly have come across the singer-songwriter and storyteller Archie Roach. Part of the ‘Stolen Generation’ – the Aboriginal children who were forcibly removed by Australian government agencies and put into orphanages and foster homes – Roach met his late partner Ruby Hunter on the streets. He released his debut album, Charcoal Lane, in 1990, which featured the song that was to put Roach in the global spotlight, ‘Took the Children Away’. A shameful part of Australia’s history memorably encapsulated in a heartbreaking song that won Roach a Human Rights Achievement Award and two ARIA awards.
Roach and Hunter formed a longstanding musical partnership that took them around the world until Hunter’s sudden death in 2010. Following the loss of his soulmate, Roach had a stroke and was diagnosed with lung cancer but made an incredible comeback in 2012 with Into the Bloodstream (reviewed in #89). He told Songlines’ contributor Jane Cornwell: ‘‘I felt like I’d sung enough about troubles, sorrow and pain and I needed to turn a corner… I wanted to say, ‘hang on a minute, it’s good to be alive’’’ (Beginner’s Guide #99).
This will be Roach’s first time in Scotland and one that will no doubt prove an emotional one as after a series of traumatic foster home experiences, Roach ended up being looked after by a Glaswegian. These two live dates at the Famous Spiegeltent will provide a rare opportunity to hear material from his forthcoming album Let Love Rule (released on September 23) and experience this incredibly talented Aboriginal legend in concert.
Listen to Archie Roach singing ‘Took the Children Away’ on YouTube.
For more information and tickets, visit: tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/archie-roach