Melbourne Symphony Pay Respect To The Music of Archie Roach with One Song -
Emma Donovan and William Barton with MSO photo by Laura Manariti

Emma Donovan and William Barton with MSO photo by Laura Manariti

Melbourne Symphony Pay Respect To The Music of Archie Roach with One Song

by Paul Cashmere on July 7, 2023

in News

‘One Song – The Music of Archie Roach’ was possibly one of the most reverent events ever showcased by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. It was indeed a spiritual evening.

The two-hour accolade to Archie Roach and his music started with Roach’s sister and his nephew speaking about Archie and welcoming the audience to what was a beautiful tribute.

Actor Tamala Shelton introduced each song giving the audience context to the history and importance of Archie’s messages in his songs. Archie Roach lived a journey. He witnessed the very best and the very worst of society from the beautiful nature of his friends and family to cruel politics of Australia’s first terrorists, the British. The sadness of his own story in ‘Took The Children Away’ was a wake-up call, a reality check of Australia’s atrocities to our First Nation people. The embarrassment of Australia still being held accountable to a British monarchy means the struggle still has a way to go.

Paul Grabowsky was the music director of the event, bridging one of the world’s great orchestra’s with Australia’s greatest indigenous talent who performed the songs of Archie Roach that are now so much a part of our culture.

Dan Sultan was clearly emotional for the start of the program opening with Archie’s ‘Morning Star’. Each artist channelled Archie through his words and music with no single acts commanding a starring role, instead each one allowing the words of each song to showcase. That was most evident with Tamala Shelton recited Archie’s poem ‘Cradle of Life’.

The voices of Emma Donovan, Sally Dastey, Kee’ahn, Deborah Cheetham Fraillon, Radial Son became lead instruments of the evening. William Barton was an orchestra unto his own.

The songs chosen spanned the 30 years of Archie’s recorded history dating back to the early 90s ‘Charcoal Lane’ and ‘Jamu Dreaming’.

Archie Roach tribute with MSO photo by Laura Manariti Archie Roach tribute with MSO photo by Laura Manariti

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Jaime Martín conductor
Paul Grabowsky AO music director
Rachael Maza AM stage director

Dan Sultan
Emma Donovan
William Barton
Deborah Cheetham Fraillon AO
Jess Hitchcock
Radical Son
Sally Dastey
Tamala Shelton
Allara Briggs Pattison
Tenzin Choegyal
Lionel Lauch
Stephen Magnusson
Sam Anning
Dhungala Children’s Choir

• Morning Star (from Sensual Being, 2002)
• A Child Was Born Here (from Looking for Butter Boy, 1997)
• Weeping in the Forest (from Jamu Dreaming, 1993)
• Mulyawongk (from Into The Bloodstream, 2012)
• Small Child (from Sensual Being, 2002)
• Took The Children Away (originally from Charcoal Lane, 1990)

– Interval –

• Nopun Kurongk (from Tell Me Why, 2019)
• Dancing With My Spirit (from Looking for Butter Boy, 1997)
• There is a Garden (from Jamu Dreaming, 1993)
• Cradle of Life (Archie Roach poem)
• Jamu Dreaming (from Jamu Dreaming, 1993)
• One Song (from My Songs: 1989-2021)
• Let Love Rule (from Let Love Rule, 2016)

Running time: approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes including interval.

Geetanjali Mishra technical director
Alistair McLean audio engineer
Chloe Ogilvie lighting designer

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