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Deadly Awards funding cut 'devastating', says Archie Roach

ABOVE: The crowd at Southern Cross University enjoyed Archie Roach’s NAIDOC performance. In the audience were Veralee Walker, 7, Latayah-Rose Dangerfield, six months, and Shineea Walker, 5, all of Lismore.
ABOVE: The crowd at Southern Cross University enjoyed Archie Roach’s NAIDOC performance. In the audience were Veralee Walker, 7, Latayah-Rose Dangerfield, six months, and Shineea Walker, 5, all of Lismore. Cathy Adams

AS ARCHIE Roach performed his hit When a Child Was Born at Southern Cross University Lismore NAIDOC week celebrations yesterday you could feel the love.

And so could he.

"It's good to come to an event where family and community come together, you just feel the love, you know," Archie said.

The singer, songwriter and guitarist said he was excited to be involved in NAIDOC celebrations at the university where his niece Kyra studies.

"Showcasing our talent and our culture and sharing with the rest of Australia is very important."

Under bright sunny skies, more than 300 people gathered, captured by his stories and mesmerised by his songs.

Accompanied by Craig Pilkington, the indigenous music legend was joined by hip-hop group Supafresh and Northern Rivers musician Blakboi and his band as musical performers at the celebrations.

Workshops on basket weaving, indigenous art, hip-hop and jewellery kept interested people occupied and stalls including BreastScreen NSW, Legal Aid, NSW Health and Solid Mob provided information and advice.

After winning the best album award at the 2013 Deadly Awards, Archie said this week's announcement that federal funding cuts had forced the cancellation of the premier indigenous arts and cultural awards for 2014 was devastating news.

"To take away the funding from such an important event on the calendar, not just for indigenous people but for all Australians, is devastating."

"There were so many other people who watched the awards and celebrated the achievements of indigenous people and communities."

Between songs Archie told the crowd stories about his life, performing with Paul Kelly and the meaning behind his songs.

After, he posed for photos and signed autographs for dozens of adoring fans.

Archie opened the Bundjalung Art and SCU Student Works Exhibition at the SCU Library.

Topics:  archie roach, deadly awards



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