Legendary storyteller, “voice of the Stolen Generations” and 2020 Victorian Australian Of The Year, Archie Roach AM will be next inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame at the 2020 ARIA Awards in partnership with YouTube Music on the Nine Network on Wednesday, 25th November 2020.
Celebrating the 30 year anniversary of his groundbreaking debut album Charcoal Lane this year, Archie Roach’s monumental and lasting impact on the Australian music industry is profoundly evident. Charcoal Lane is certified Gold and received two ARIA Awards in 1991. Archie Roach’s career achievements are extensive, to name a few, he went on to win 3 more ARIA Awards, was the first songwriter to ever take home a Human Rights Achievement Award and was made a Member Of The Order of Australia (AM) in 2015 for his significant service to the performing arts as a singer, songwriter and guitarist, and to the community as a spokesman for social justice. Over the course of his career he has shared the concert stage with music icons such as Patti Smith, Bob Dylan, Joan Armatrading, Rodriguez and the late, great Leonard Cohen.
Upon hearing news of his ARIA Hall of Fame induction, Archie Roach said, "It's a great honour to be inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame, whilst it’s been thirty years since I recorded my debut album Charcoal Lane, I do recall receiving two ARIA awards for that album. 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. "
ARIA Chief Executive, Dan Rosen, said: “It is an honour for us to have Archie Roach join the ARIA Hall Of Fame. He is an artist of enormous integrity, writing songs of deep personal honesty that resonated all around Australia. He told stories that no one else was telling, and brought these issues to the forefront of the Australian psyche. His thirty-year career on-stage is enough for him to be a legend, but it is matched with his off-stage activism and his tireless work to give back to the communities around him. He's a man who has made the world a better place, and he rightly takes his place as a giant of Australian music.”
When Archie Roach released his debut album Charcoal Lane in 1990, it was the first time many Australians heard about stolen children. Produced by Paul Kelly and his late guitarist Steve Connolly, Archie’s song 'Took The Children Away' was the centrepiece of his debut album, shining a stark light on the forcible removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, bringing the issue to national and global attention through song and storytelling.
In the past 30 years, Archie has recorded a suite of nine important Australian albums chronicling Indigenous life; the personal and the political. His heartfelt lyrics and soulful voice have exposed hearts and minds to Indigenous culture and experiences.
His songs have exposed truths of dark realities: the consequences of the forced removal of children from family in 'Took The Children Away', 'Tell Me Why', and 'Lighthouse (Song For Two Mothers)', and about life on the streets, on 'F Troop' and 'Charcoal Lane'. As well as deep connections to self and family: 'Small Child', 'Always Be Here'; to country on 'A Child Was Born Here', and 'Nopun Kurongk', and of love through 'Let Love Rule' and 'It’s Not Too Late'.
In 2019, Archie released his highly anticipated album and memoir by the same name, Tell Me Why, documenting how his struggle to find his identity, family and sense of belonging ultimately led him to narrate his journey through words and song, and go on to perform on stages throughout the world. The album debuted at #7 on the ARIA Charts and received widespread critical acclaim. Both the memoir and the companion album made a critically important contribution, just like all of Archie’s work, to the Australian story.
Despite the challenging year that has been and having to cancel his final national tour for Tell Me Why, Archie brought trusted musicians Stephen Magnusson and Sam Anning, along with recording engineer Hadyn Buxton, to his home on Gunditjmara lands, his mother’s ancestral country, to re-record the timeless classic songs of his debut album. Titled The Songs of Charcoal Lane, Archie will release the re-recording in November which will coincide with NAIDOC Week celebrations.
Along with his 2020 induction into the ARIA Hall of Fame, Archie Roach has been nominated for three ARIA Awards this year including Best Male Artist, Best Independent Release and Best Adult Contemporary Album.