Aborigine singer-songwriter Archie Roach is best known for his intensely emotional single “Took the Children Away.” A song which featured on his 1990 debut album “Charcoal Lane”. The song went on to be the first song to achieve an international Human Rights Achievement Award following the attention it brought to the world of the forcible removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from their families.
In the intervening years, he has released a further five albums with the 7th due for release in Sep 2016. Those years have been far from easy for Archie who lost his partner in life and music, Ruby Hunter, in 2010, followed by a massive stroke that left him temporarily paralysed along his right side, unable to talk, walk or play his guitar. After intensive rehabilitation, Archie briefly returned to performing. In 2011 he was diagnosed with cancer and was facing an operation to remove half of his lung. The fact that he’s still writing, recording and performing is pretty staggering but what sets him apart is his continued positive energy that percolates through his music. He sees beyond race, religion, gender and ideology; he gets straight to the heart of what it means to be human.
With his new album ‘Let Love Rule’, he saw it as a way to begin to live again. “It’s a two-way thing. The audience gives me so much back – it’s hard to explain. But that’s actually what I do this for… to get that interaction with the audience.”
Those at Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe will have the unique opportunity to see Archie Roach performing at the Grand Old Dame herself – The Famous Spiegeltent which has returned to St Andrew Square Garden after a few years sunning herself in southern climes. Archie performs this week on 16, 17 August in St Andrew Square, Edinburgh.
He states that “Many of the songs on the album are really a call for understanding. To find the things common to us all – that shared humanity – rather than just looking at the things that divide us.” This couldn’t be truer as the following message shows:
“On this album, I wanted to explore the theme of love – what it is, what it means,” said Archie. “I wanted to write about love, or a willingness to love all people.” He was concerned about what he saw happening in the world and particularly in Australia. “We are closing ourselves off and not letting people in. And not just in the sense of not letting them into the country, but not letting them into our hearts, into our minds. This country was built on people coming here from other countries. That’s what made Australia what it is today.”
“Let Love Rule” is the tenth album in an extraordinary career and its release sees Archie Roach in an older and wiser frame of mind. “As you get older, you tend to look at things more on a universal level. You realise everybody suffers. Everybody goes through hard times. Your understanding grows.” That belief has produced one of his most uplifting albums. “Ultimately, this album is about what I wish for. I’m not necessarily trying to get others to believe that as well. I’m just saying – this is me … this is what I hope.”
Catch Archie Roach in Edinburgh at The Famous Spiegeltent on 16, 17 August in St Andrew Square.
Let Love Rule is out on Friday 23 September 2016 via Liberation Music
Pre-Order here: archieroach.com