Don’t Forget Where You Come From -Archie Roach

photo by Australian Human Rights Commission

I knew he would not be around forever.

No one ever is.

But Archie Roach endured so much.

He seemed indestructible.

Part of the Stolen Generations.

An orphanage.

Two foster care placements.

Fourteen years on the street after the death of his mother.

Alcoholism.

The death of Ruby Hunter, his wife and musical partner when she was 54.

A stroke.

Lung cancer.

Surgery.

Activism on behalf of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Through it all, Archie Roach made his way with a song.

He entered my life through the radio. Driving in the Richmond area, many years ago, NPR broadcast a story about him which featured clips from his songs.

I was hooked and began collecting his music.

His songs spoke with power and passion of this life, his pain, his joy, his family, and his people. Brutal and tender, universal and personal, his songs spoke to me.

He did not forget where he came from but he used his experiences to lament what had been and dream what might be.

Today, I learned that Archie Roach died on July 30 of this year.

I grieve today. Listen to his music. And add some more, almost completing my collection.

Archie Roach will dominate my playlists for a couple days. I will take to heart some lyrics from “One Song,” a song released in February 2022.

Thank you for sharing your gift, your wounds, and your heart, Archie.

Remember well what we have told you
And don’t forget where you come from
Mother Earth will always hold you
And you are born of just one song

I will remember.

Archie Roach. Presente!

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Filed under Antiracism, Music

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