Beloved national music icon and Maar Nation elder Uncle Archie Roach dies aged 66

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Beloved national music icon and Maar Nation elder Uncle Archie Roach dies aged 66

Archie Roach, one of the most influential performers in Australian music, let alone its thriving First Nations scene, has died at the age of 66 after a long illness.

Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised this article contains images and names of people who have died.

Legendary singer-songwriter and voice of the Stolen Generations, Archie Roach,

“We are heartbroken to announce the passing of Gunditjmara (Kirrae Whurrong/Djab Wurrung), Bundjalung Senior Elder, songman and storyteller Archie Roach,” Amos and Eban Roach shared on behalf of the Roach family.

“Archie passed, surrounded by his family and loved ones, at Warrnambool Base Hospital after a long illness. We thank all the staff who have cared for Archie over the past month.

“Archie wanted all of his many fans to know how much he loves you for supporting him along the way.

“We are so proud of everything our dad achieved in his remarkable life. He was a healer and a unifying force. His music brought people together.”

Archie’s sons, Amos and Eban Roach, have given permission for Archie’s name, image and music to be used, so that his legacy will continue to inspire.  A private ceremony will follow.

Archie Roach AM was one of Australia’s iconic storytellers and cultural figures. As a proud Maar Nation Elder from southwest Victoria on his mother’s side and Bundjalung man from NSW northern rivers country on his father’s side, as a singer, songwriter and author, and as a vocal survivor of the Stolen Generations, Archie has carved a unique path through four decades of Australian culture.

Archie’s career as a recording artist spans ten albums, numerous soundtracks and a number of compilations of his work. He was inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame in 2020, and made a member of The Order Of Australia in 2015 for his lifetime contributions to music and activism.

Beyond these honours, Archie’s music has won countless awards,including eight ARIA Awards.

Archie’s autobiography Tell Me Why (2020) introduced him as an author. The award winning memoir details Archie’s extraordinary odyssey as a stolen child, removed from his family at the age of two, whose journey to reconnect with his people and understand his identity shaped theartist, activist and leader we know today.

Archie’s activism, continues through The Archie Roach Foundation, dedicated to nurturing meaningful opportunities for First Nation artists.

Following his passing, tributes have poured in for musician whose 1990 debut single Took the Children Away became the anthem of the stolen generations. The song reflected his experience as a member of the stolen generation and earned him ARIA nominations for breakthrough artist and an award for best new talent at the 1991 awards. In 1991 it won the Human Rights Achievement Award, the first time that award had been bestowed on a songwriter

It was added to the National Film and Sound Archive in 2013.

Rest In Peace Archie Roach, you and your music were a gift to us all.