Saturday, March 19, 2011

Archie Roach - Saturday Song

The Stolen Generations (also known as Stolen children) is a term used to describe the children of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent who were removed from their families by the Australian Federal and State government agencies and church missions, under acts of their respective parliaments. The removals occurred in the period between approximately 1869 and 1969, although in some places children were still being taken in the 1970s.

With Saturday Song I try to make it about Aussie singers - Archie (born in 1956) certainly is that.
He was one of the stolen children. At a very young age he was taken away from his parents near the banks of the Goulbourn River in Mooroopna, Victoria and put into a foster home in Melbourne.
One of those foster homes was with a family that inspired him musically.

Previously I've posted Saturday Song with Paul Kelly. It was one of Paul's band members that suggested that they meet and possibly open for Kelly's band which he did. Later as his popularity grew, Archie Roach opened for names such as Joan Armatrading, Suzanne Vega and Bob Dylan when they toured Australia.

He's released several CDs and I only bought my first one last weekend. His lyrics tell of his anguish of being ripped away from his parents and the general plight of the Stolen Generation.
It's only been in the recent past years when the Labor Opposition defeated the then Liberal Government that newly elected Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, officially apologised (saying sorry) for the pain the past governments caused the indigenous children and parents.

They Took the Children Away - Archie Roach

From little things, big things grow is a Paul Kelly song - it's about an aboriginal stockman that worked the land for a squatter and he couldn't understand why this man who was on his land, reaped the benefits.
Listen to the words - the reference to the big man was Gough Whitlam, the Labor Prime Minister at the time.
Writing this, I ask myself the question, why is it that the Labor Party have always championed the cause of our indigenous people?

If you have time, sing along...

Gather round people let me tell you're a story
An eight year long story of power and pride
British Lord Vestey and Vincent Lingiarri
We're opposite men on opposite sides

Vestey was fat with money and muscle
Beef was his business, broad was his door
Vincent was lean and spoke very little
He had no bank balance, hard dirt was his floor

From little things big things grow
From little things big things grow

Gurindji were working for nothing but rations
Where once they had gathered the wealth of the land
Daily the pressure got tighter and tighter
Gurindju decided they must make a stand

They picked up their swags and started off walking
At Wattie Creek they sat themselves down
Now it don't sound like much but it sure got tongues talking
Back at the homestead and then in the town

Vestey man said I'll double your wages
Seven quid a week you'll have in your hand
Vincent said uhuh we're not talking about wages
We're sitting right here till we get our land
Vestey man roared and Vestey man thundered
You don't stand the chance of a cinder in snow
Vince said if we fall others are rising   

From little things big things grow
From little things big things grow

Then Vincent Lingiarri boarded an aeroplane
Landed in Sydney, big city of lights
And daily he went round softly speaking his story
To all kinds of men from all walks of life

And Vincent sat down with big politicians
This affair they told him is a matter of state
Let us sort it out, your people are hungry
Vincent said no thanks, we know how to wait

Then Vincent Lingiarri returned in an aeroplane
Back to his country once more to sit down
And he told his people let the stars keep on turning
We have friends in the south, in the cities and towns

Eight years went by, eight long years of waiting
Till one day a tall stranger appeared in the land
And he came with lawyers and he came with great ceremony
And through Vincent's fingers poured a handful of sand

From little things big things grow
From little things big things grow

That was the story of Vincent Lingairri
But this is the story of something much more
How power and privilege can not move a people
Who know where they stand and stand in the law

From little things big things grow
From little things big things grow
From little things big things grow
From little things big things grow

[ Lyrics from: ]


  1. I am certainly enjoying listening to music from the other side of the world, most of which I have never heard before :)

  2. Have a few French CDs in the collection - still learning.
    Liked your Father's day Sunday Songs.


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