Archie Roach Tell Me Why

Her Majesty’s Theatre 28 April 2022

The title ‘Uncle’ is a term of respect in Indigenous society. To the audience who packed out Her Majesty’s Theatre, Archie Roach was everyones Uncle and a much loved one at that.

Arriving in a wheel chair trailed by an oxygen tube is not the usual entrance, but once he was seated, centre stage, Archie, story teller and singer, was ready. From BiCentenary Blues to Song, a description of how the world was sung into being, through stories from his life to an emotional tribute to Ruby Hunter, Archie was back doing what he most loves, the voice growing in strength, until he had given us his all. It was as though we were seated around the campfire, listening to yarns and songs, understanding that the darkness and drama of many of those stories, captured in the lyrics and music, were a reminder of a colonial past, still present in many ways.

The musicians, under the direction of Paul Grabowsky at the piano, and who also arranged the music, were absolutely wonderful: Stephen Magnussen on guitar, Sam Anning on double bass, Dave Beck on drums and Erkki Veltheim on the violin which sounded at times like another voice. Sally Dastey, singer, added support and depth to the songs. Archie Roach thanked them all, then thanked his audience who ‘give me as much, if not more, than I give you’.

Emily Sutherland

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