ARCHIE Roach has described his new album Into The Bloodstream as his “good medicine” and it’s clear he really means it.
Medicine and healing have been an inescapable focus of the south-west musician’s existence over the past years’ emotional and physical struggles, but he says his latest recordings have brought him a new lease of life.
In 2010 the beloved Aboriginal singer and songwriter suffered immeasurably when he lost his soul mate Ruby Hunter and later that year found himself up in the Kimberley amongst the Bungle Bungles where he himself suffered a stroke.
Heavy rehabilitation left parts of his body, including one of his hands, inert and in mid-2011 Roach was diagnosed with the early stages of lung cancer. Half a lung was removed and again he went into heavy rehabilitation.
But instead of rolling over and succumbing to his many trials, Roach turned to joy and hope in the idea of lifting himself and others up through song.
The new album, part of which was recorded at St Brigid’s hall in Crossley, is about “finding strength” and expressing it, Roach says.
“Overcoming difficulties and singing more uplifting songs that are not so much about suffering and pain but rising above that,” he said.
“Going through what I have has made me realise that a big part of people getting sick has to do with holding onto pain and not letting it go.
“That was the inspiration behind it all. Letting go of the pain and the bad stuff and holding onto something good and strong.”
Roach is preparing for the album’s release as his body and mind continue to heal in time to embark on a national tour in November.
The live shows promise to be infused with good doses of uplifting gospel and soul stirrings, but are also in many ways the story of his life, spanning his childhood, his stolen years and his long love for Ruby.
Into The Bloodstream will be released on October 19, with a November 19 performance set for the Australasian Worldwide Music Expo at Arts Centre Melbourne.