Archie Roach honoured by ARIAs Hall of Fame induction

HONOURED: ARIA Hall of Fame inductee and nominated artist Archie Roach performing to a full house at the 2020 Port Fairy Folk Festival. Picture: Kyra Gillespie.
HONOURED: ARIA Hall of Fame inductee and nominated artist Archie Roach performing to a full house at the 2020 Port Fairy Folk Festival. Picture: Kyra Gillespie.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware this article contains the voice and name of a deceased person.

Singer-songwriter Archie Roach accepted his induction to the ARIA Hall of Fame on Wednesday night at Warrnambool's Lighthouse Theatre, in south west Victoria, surrounded by family, friends and fellow musicians.

He also won best male artist and best adult contemporary album.

After an emotional performance of 'Took the Children Away' with the likes of Paul Kelly and Vika and Linda Bull, Roach thanked those who had influenced his life and career.

"You never really think much about getting awards when you perform and write songs," he said.

"Thank you to the ARIAs for this wonderful award.

"It's still lethal-looking, I'd hate to trip and fall on one", he added with a laugh, holding the pointed prestigious trophy.

Paul Kelly described Roach as "one of Australia's finest soul singers."

Son Amos Roach said his dad tells the story of his Country and his life, and how they are connected through his music.

"Growing up, Dad would sing and bring the family together," he said.

ARIA Inductee 

Archie Roach was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame on Wednesday night 30 years after his groundbreaking debut album Charcoal Lane was released.

The Killarney singer-songwriter, author and activist said it was a "great honour" to be inducted into Australia's celebration of significant achievements within the music industry.

"Whilst it's been thirty years since I recorded my debut album Charcoal Lane, I do recall receiving two ARIA awards for that album," Roach said.

"Through the years writing and recording my songs as well as touring, has helped me to heal and connect to audiences around the country.

"To be inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame is validation that no matter where you have come from and the struggles that you had to overcome through the years, that you can achieve great things if you set your mind and heart to it.

"Your achievements are only as good as the people around you and I have been blessed with a great team."

Charcoal Lane is remembered as one of the first time stories of the Stolen Generation were recorded and told to the Australian and world audience.

In his career, Roach has recorded nine albums chronicling Indigenous life and political life.

Charcoal Lane is remembered as one of the first time stories of the Stolen Generation were recorded and told to Australians and world audiences. The album broke down barriers for Indigenous Australians and Roach went on to be the first songwriter to receive an ARIA Human Rights Achievement Award in 1992, he was awarded a Member Of The Order of Australia (AM) in 2015 and named Victoria's 2020 Australian of the Year.

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South-west Indigenous leader Uncle Lenny Clarke recalled a conversation between his late father, internationally renowned late Indigenous elder Uncle Banjo Clarke and the ARIA Hall of Fame inductee.

"When Banjo Clarke asked Archie to write a song about his life, he said: 'How can I? I don't know my life?'," Mr Clarke said.

"And so he told him and the songs that Archie wrote are now an anthem for Indigenous groups throughout the world.

Archie is a person who put Aboriginal culture, and what happened to us, onto the international stage through song.

Uncle Lenny Clark

"Banjo used to always say 'music and song is the language of all cultures in this world' and it is great that my father told Archie of his early life."

Along with his 2020 induction into the ARIA Hall of Fame, Archie Roach was nominated for three ARIA Awards this year including best male artist, best independent release and best adult contemporary album.

This story Archie Roach's life and music honoured by the ARIAs first appeared on The Standard.