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Songs from the Kitchen Table : Lyrics and Stories - Archie Roach

Songs from the Kitchen Table

Lyrics and Stories

By: Archie Roach, Ruby Hunter

Hardcover | 15 November 2023

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The ultimate illustrated commemoration of iconic Australian musicians, Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter – including lyrics, stories, photographs and tributes.  

A year after he entered the Dreamtime, Archie Roach’s spirit continues to soar, much like the wedge-tailed eagle – his totem animal from his mother's ancestral lands. Archie's songs stand as anthems for the experience of dispossession, and have touched the lives of many with their empathetic message of shared humanity.

Songs from the Kitchen Table is a tribute to the power of Archie’s voice, and to the career he built with his life partner and musical collaborator, Ruby Hunter. This beautiful, illustrated volume contains the lyrics to over 100 of their songs, carefully curated by Archie's manager and friend, Jill Shelton: from Archie’s breathtaking early works ‘Took the Children Away’ and ‘Charcoal Lane’, to the timeless classics ‘Tell Me Why’ and Ruby’s ‘Down City Streets’, to his final masterpiece ‘One Song’. The songs are accompanied by stories about their composition; rare photographs; handwritten lyrics; album covers and artwork; and heartfelt tributes to Archie and Ruby from fans and fellow musicians.

With forewords by their long-time friends Paul Kelly and Emma Donovan, Songs from the Kitchen Table is a celebration of one of Australia’s great creative partnerships, and a tribute to the ongoing power of plain-spoken truths.

About the Author

Archie Roach AM, a Gunditjmara and Bundjalung man, was born in Victoria in 1956. Taken at the age of two from parents he never saw again, he was placed into foster care. He started writing songs after meeting his soulmate Ruby Hunter when they were both homeless teenagers. His heartbreaking signature song, ‘Took the Children Away’, from his 1990 ARIA award-winning debut album Charcoal Lane, has become an anthem for the Stolen Generations. The song was the first to win an Australian Human Rights Award and the album was featured in US Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 50 in 1992, won two ARIA awards and went gold in Australia. Archie’s recording history includes twelve albums, soundtracks, film and theatrical scores and his books include the award-winning memoir Tell Me Why, accompanied by a companion album, and the picture book Took the Children Away, illustrated by Ruby Hunter.

Ruby Hunter (1955-2010) was a proud Ngarrindjeri, Kukatha, Pitjantjatjara woman from South Australia. She forged a remarkable music career, releasing three highly acclaimed albums, while raising a family with her lifelong partner and soulmate, Archie Roach. Through her songwriting Ruby tirelessly championed the rights of Aboriginal women and children out of a deep desire for positive change and equal opportunity. Like Archie, Ruby was forcibly removed from her family when only a small child. Ruby expressed their shared story through her evocative drawings for Took the Children Away, their last collaborative project.
Industry Reviews
'When Jill Shelton was discussing the songbook idea with Archie, who died last year, he had just one request: “Make it good, Jill.” She didn’t let him down. Both celebration and tribute, the book is filled with more than 100 songs to soothe the soul. Songs of grace, healing and power.'

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