Archie Roach is an icon of the Australian music industry and his honest storytelling tells the sad truth of indigenous Australia. He wrote the landmark song Took the Children Away in 1990, about his own childhood and being taken by authorities from his parents to a mission.
“You took the children away, Breaking their mothers heart, Tearing us all apart” the lyrics rang.
This heartbreaking account of the Stolen Generation became the anthem of indigenous activism in Australia– It was awarded two ARIA Awards as well as an international Human Rights Achievement Award, cementing Roach as a powerful activist and storyteller.
Through the proceeding 20 years, Roach has sung with measured reason and heartfelt sorrow of his own deep experiences, as well of those of his ancestors.
In Iconic Songs on Thursday 25 August, Archie talks about his own experience as one of the Stolen Generation, and how writing Took the Children Away helped to heal the pain. Then he and long-time friends Shane Howard and Neil Murray perform a heart-breaking acoustic rendition of the song to a crowd at WOMADelaide 2011.