Silent Night by Archie Roach
'Silent Night' was first performed 200 years ago this Christmas Eve in Salzburg, Austria. Schoolteacher and composer Franz Xaver Gruber wrote the popular carol with lyrics by Catholic priest Joseph Mohr. UNESCO declared the song an intangible cultural heritage in 2011.
Deviating slightly from the original melody, Roach’s arrangement of 'Silent Night' fits his voice like a glove. With a rhythm section of acoustic and slide guitars the drum track falls just behind the beat and delivers a beautiful laid-back interpretation of this well-known carol. Archie’s voice is proudly mixed in front of the backing track and it is hard not to notice the reverence in his performance.
'Silent Night' appears on the Salvation Army Charity album, The Spirit of Christmas 2008. Roach has a strong connection to the Salvation Army, having met his future wife and musical soulmate, Ruby Hunter at one of their drop-in centres in Adelaide in 1971. Roach acknowledges Hunter as giving him the courage to tell his story through song and perform live.
A voice that has been forged out of both sadness and strength, Roach is a big believer in the healing power of music. In 2017 he told The Guardian, 'Having your own voice is very powerful and healing. When I was young music helped me stop drinking. I turned a corner and music was great therapy for me – it still is.' A true champion in the face of adversity, Roach, now 62, continues to perform and inspire us all.