By Mike Sexton

Posted November 29, 2015 10:43:05

A quarter of a century right after recording his initial album and after overcoming a stroke and lung cancer, Indigenous singer-songwriter Archie Roach is experiencing a profession renaissance.

His classic album Charcoal Lane has been re-recorded by young Indigenous musicians from across the nation and a concert tour is about to commence.

Indigenous musician Nancy Bates said the challenge of attempting to cover such a respected artist was daunting.

“In the finish it is not about comparison,” she mentioned.

“We have been offered that chance because he sees something in us on a musical level, on a spiritual level and as young Aboriginal ladies.”

Archie Roach was a recovering alcoholic who had been homeless just ahead of Charcoal Lane was recorded in 1990.

He was taken from his parents as a three-year-old member of the Stolen Generations and by his late teens was living on the streets of Melbourne.

The CD title comes from a meeting spot in Fitzroy where folks gathered to drink.

Being on stage with Archie Roach is the closest thing to the spirit you can ever be as a human being due to the fact it is not just music. He is singing our stories and men and women really feel it.

Indigenous musician Nancy Bates

It was his late wife, Narrindjeri lady Ruby Hunter, who urged him to create his stories and put them to music.

The couple originally met in Adelaide at a Salvation Army hostel and were reunited in Melbourne.

“She was the first person to hear any of the songs I wrote,” Mr Roach stated.

“That is essential that you are able to have somebody to bounce off.”

Archie Roach recorded a selection of songs with her encouragement but the a single that struck a chord with listeners was Took the Children Away, which recounted the story of the Stolen Generations.

“You don’t genuinely anticipate for a song to do factors. You just want to write a excellent song and hope people like it,” Mr Roach said.

Nancy Bates and Archie Roach perform on stage holding guitars. Photo: Nancy Bates says performing on stage with Archie Roach is the “closest issue to the spirit”. (Supplied)

Song ‘hits home’ with Stolen Generations

Dawn Trevorrow, a 79-year-old member of the Stolen Generations, mentioned the song resonated with her experiences as a child.

“It is a gorgeous song and it just hits property,” she said.

“The only factor is I cannot sing it with out getting a lump in my throat and I begin bawling. So I let Archie do it since he does such a great job of it.”

The re-release of Charcoal Lane features Indigenous artists such as Gurrumul, Ellie Lovegrove, Dan Sultan and Nancy Bates covering the original tracks.

“Being on stage with Archie Roach is the closest factor to the spirit you can ever be as a human getting due to the fact it is not just music. He is singing our stories and individuals feel it,” Ms Bates mentioned.

“He is now creating legacy for young Aboriginal artists in this nation.”

Archie Roach continues to execute in spite of battling the effects of ill health and in doing so is sharing the story of the Stolen Generations with new audiences.

“We ought to rally about a lot of the Stolen Generations folks because it is nevertheless about healing for some,” he stated.

“But it is intergenerational. It impacts the youngsters and grandchildren, because they uncover out about these issues.”

Subjects: indigenous-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander, indigenous-policy, government-and-politics, neighborhood-and-society, states-and-territories, parliament, adelaide-5000, sa

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