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From stolen child to Indigenous leader: Archie Roach sings the songs that signpost his life

11 Jul, 2018 23:00
Archie Roach became the voice of the Stolen Generation with his ballad Took the Children Away, but it wasn't the only song influenced by his incredible life. Listen as he explains the origins of three songs, and sings them live.

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Archie Roach now works with Indigenous kids in youth detention centres

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Australia

He was named Archibald for his father; William came from a family friend.

"Oh I wish I had grown with my mother back home

"Coz I miss her sweet kisses and her smile

"And when I'm alone I wish I had known

"My mother just for a while."

When Roach was taken from his home at Framlingham Aboriginal Mission in south-western Victoria, he was sent to a Salvation Army orphanage.

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Audio:

Listen as Archie Roach describes his parents, and sings Old Mission Road

"So bow your head old eucalypt and wattle tree

"Australia's bush losing its identity

"While the cities and the parks that they have planned

"Look out of place because the spirit's in the land."

Roach describes his connection to country as innate, and almost genetic.

"There's some things they can take from you, or take you from, but there are some things that are just inborn."

Soundtrack of a revolution

Did the iconic protest songs of Archie Roach, Kev Carmody, Yothu Yindi and Midnight Oil actually change anything?

"To me it was like they were set free — dad to return as a red-bellied black snake, and mum to fly away as the wedge-tailed eagle."

Roach had a stroke in 2010, the same year Hunter died, but is now "travelling pretty good".

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