In 1989, Chilean exile musicians Illapu came to Melbourne. I attended concerts at the Melbourne Concert Hall, and also two concerts in Castlemaine, near where I lived in Daylesford.
The following year, in 1990, Mercedes Sosa came to Melbourne. Advertisements appeared in ‘The Age’ for her Labour Day public holiday concert at the Concert Hall, I booked my ticket, thrilled to be able to see Mercedes Sosa in person, but also interested in hearing the music of the First Nations Australians who were her supporting acts.
While Mercedes was incredible, the high point of the concert for me was my introduction to the music of Archie Roach. Archie had a way of quietening, of soothing his audience to a reflective state which enabled them to take in the words of the beautifully crafted songs he sang. This certainly was my experience that night. He had not long released his first album Charcoal Lane, which included ‘Took the Children Away’. I can still remember the incredibly powerful effect it had on me, and still does.
During interval, I noticed Archie standing alone at the side of the room, quietly watching the mingling crowd. I had been so moved by his music I felt that I wanted to let him know this. In a brief encounter, I went up to Archie, explained how profoundly moved I was by his music, and thanked him. He nodded, thanked me quietly, and I moved away.
At 9am this morning, before leaving Melbourne for Warrnambool; Archie’s cortege drove through inner Melbourne, briefly at places including Charcoal Lane and Cleveland Gardens . At 2 pm, as we began our class, Archie’s cortege is expected to arrived at the Gunditz Mara Health Service, Warrnambool for a gathering from 2 to 3pm.
Rest peacefully at Framlingham, Archie. Thank you for your music.
August 22, 2022