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.
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.