Archie Roach


Cancelled due to illness


Archie Roach’s home is half a world away from Canada, but the Indigenous Australian singer songwriter’s life story is heartbreakingly familiar. At three he was taken from his parents and sent to an orphanage, then to a series of non-Indigenous foster homes, oblivious all the while to the fact that his family was still alive. He studied music while living in one of them. He was eventually tracked down by a sister on the event of his father’s death, and she was able to tell him his family’s real story. A decade-long journey in search of his roots (including bouts of despair and alcoholism) followed.  

He met his partner, Ruby Hunter, while living on the streets. Sharing a deep love of music, they formed a lifelong bond, had two sons, turned their lives around and went on to foster and raise an extended family of homeless children, while their musical partnership took them onto stages around the world.

Roach’s music proved redemptive. His 1992 debut recording Charcoal Lane, with its centrepiece “Took the Children Away,” an autobiographical lament to the stolen generation of Indigenous children, won two ARIA Awards (Australia’s version of the Junos), and was named one of Rolling Stone's Top 50 albums of 1992. The years that followed saw successful albums and tours around the world.

In a voice rich with humanity, filled with joy, pain, love and longing, Roach traces the journey of his people, and gets to the heart of what it means to be human. A man of few words, when he speaks or sings, those words lift, transport and humble you. He sees beyond race, religion, gender and ideology to get straight to the heart of what it means to be human.  In 2010 Roach experienced the death of his wife Ruby, followed closely by a stroke and lung cancer. Undaunted, he has returned to music with life affirming optimism. Even in the face of loss, his latest album, the soulful Let Love Rule, chooses love in all its glorious, unruly incarnations.


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