Magazine article New Internationalist

[Roach, Archie. Looking for Butter Boy]

Magazine article New Internationalist

[Roach, Archie. Looking for Butter Boy]

Article excerpt

by Archie Roach

(Mushroom, MUSH 1 5CD0)

It's hard to know where to begin with Archie Roach's music. Looking For Butter Boy is the native Australian third album and it's certainly not in the music or its manifest merits that any difficulties lie: Roach has established himself as a powerful and lucid singer, comparable with Neil Young and Ben Harper. Rather, it has something to do with the sweetness with which he approaches a subject matter of desperate sadness. The cause, one might say, of his own music.

Looking For Butter Boy really only has one subject. Roach's songs refer constantly to the ideas of mother, of earth, of brothers and children. Literally and symbolically, they are songs about belonging, sung -- as perhaps they only can be -- by someone who is an outsider. Charcoal Lane, Roach's debut album released in 1990, introduced this theme quite clearly. In 'Took The Children Away' Roach described how he, as a three-year-old boy, and his siblings had been taken forcibly from their parents to be resettled with white Australian families. No further contact was allowed. This brutal activity, discontinued only in the 1960s, was part of federal policy to assimilate the aboriginal populations. In addition to centuries of systematic extermination and suppression of native peoples and their cultures, it is responsible now for the plight of many of Australia's native citizens. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.