• WITBN Chair Tanya Denning -Orman and SBS Board member Dot West. WITBC 2016. (Carla Orsatti)Source: Carla Orsatti
COMMENT: Tanya Orman, NITV's Channel Manager, reflects on the significance of January 26th and explains NITV's #alwayswillbe festival.
By
Tanya Orman

25 Jan 2017 - 12:56 PM  UPDATED 27 Jan 2017 - 12:31 PM

Down city streets I would roam, I had no bed I had no home and there was nothing that I owned.

You can hear songsmith Archie Roach so clearly with those words so beautifully written by the late Ruby Hunter decades ago.

‘This song is as relevant today as it was then’ Uncle says when he gave a secret performance in a laneway in St Kilda for NITV’s Anthem Sessions that began popping up on social media on January 9.

Like mice to the piper, it didn’t take long for the crowd to pile into the laneway treat, while thousands more from around Australia and the world watched on via Facebook Live.

You can’t help but hang on every word of one of our greatest Songman especially when he talks about the disenfranchised, the forgotten but then giving us hope that we can overcome challenges as individuals and as Australians.

Archie Roach didn’t hesitate, nor did Shane Howard or Christine Anu, when NITV asked them to join an array of our biggest artists to hit the streets of our towns and cities for a surprise performance, to remind us of the power of song in capturing our moments in history and our shared Australian story.

Their ‘Anthem Songs’ tell of individual resilience and of a rights movement from Mabo to a Prime Minister's apology while at the same time luring in millions of Australians onto the dance floor through catchy melody.

Well I heard it on the radio and saw it on the television….. back in '88…… Treaty Yer Treaty Yer’

Standing on solid rock, Standing on sacred ground, Living on borrowed time.’

‘They say home is where you find it….. My Island Home’

‘We have survived the white man's world’

‘Black boy, Black Boy, the colour of your skin is your pride and joy’

‘Blackfella, Whitefella, doesn’t matter what your colour’

I agree with Uncle Archie that the songs are as relevant now as they were decades ago, but today we have a new generation of artists telling stories in a way that connects to their generation.

Stories reflecting today like a 360 Virtual Reality Hip Hop.

To Dan Sultan’s poetic pop telling a story of the drover’s boy to a new generation of Australian.

This January 26, whatever you identify this day to be, that’s why NITV chose to ensure our Australian story, all of our songs from city streets to your home would be told and #AlwaysWillBe.

Related
Here are the lyrics to the 'Change the Date' track
Some of the biggest names in Australian hip hop are calling out this controversial date. #ChangeTheDate is an innovative new track, debuting in 360 VR for NITV's #AlwaysWillBe
NITV's 3LACK60 Sessions: #ChangeTheDate
Some of Australia’s best hip hop artists have come together thanks to NITV, Elefant Traks and Bad Apples to produce an original song ‘Change the Date’, and an accompanying 360 degree VR experience.
OPINION: Invasion Day, Survival Day, or Day of Mourning? All of the above
COMMENT: Every year on the 26th of January I wonder a bit about how I am going to refer to the day, Invasion Day, Survival Day or Day of Mourning? Over the years I have referred to it as all of these, and I think the choice I make reflects a bit about the mood I am in at that time, where I am at in life, and where Australia is in general.

FOOTNOTE;

On 26 January 2017, NITV presents the Always Will Be Festival – an array of programming and events that encourage a national discussion on what it means to be Australian today.

For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the 26th of January is not a day of celebration.

Through thought-provoking documentaries, films, news and current affairs,  an original song and virtual reality experience, a podcast, public events and more, NITV invites all Australians to hear and interact with Indigenous perspectives on this national holiday.

Discover more about Indigenous Australia with NITV's #AlwaysWillBe, an interactive line-up of truth, tradition and expression.