Archie Roach: Why He Writes Music

Archie Roach: Why He Writes Music
WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that the following program may contain images and/or audio of deceased persons
Access fees

This is a short excerpt from Singing His Story: Archie Roach in Concert, filmed at the Playhouse Theatre at the University of Western Sydney on 14 December 2007. 

Archie explains that he started writing songs as therapy for himself. Looking back he sees how each album has had its own character – with Charcoal Lane (1990) being 'a little dark' and the following albums, such as Jamu Dreaming (1993), Looking For Butterboy (1997) and Sensual Being (2002), progressively lightening up.

The minimalist production values are effective in focusing our attention on Archie's story and the clip has the feeling of documenting an intimate concert. It is a treat to hear an insight into Archie's creative process even if we don't get any cutaways to the audience to see their reactions as he is talking.

In his autobiography Tell Me Why (2019) Archie says, 'I don't try to sing to impress or educate. I sing to honour. This is something I think I learnt sobering up. Respect and truth are the cornerstones of my life now and when I play, I play to respect the stories.'

Notes by Beth Taylor and Adam Blackshaw