Archie Roach,
Charcoal Lane
(Hightone, 1992; Mushroom, 2000)

My oh my, but "Muntana" will make you cry.

I have rarely heard such a deeply moving song. It's a confronting and true story that American listeners may relate to, as it recalls the tragedy of a young man and his native Australian mother, Muntana (pronounced Mun-ya-na). He was taken from her by the authorities as a young child and adopted out to a family in the United States. I don't know the whole story, but he ended up on the wrong side of the tracks, as they say, and was eventually convicted of rape and murder a few years back. The death of a young woman, the incarceration and potential death of a young man -- three damaged families. Tragedy upon tragedy -- the song asks who will shed a tear for Muntana.

I actually did cry and it's not usual for me to do that while listening to music.

I focus on the one song, not to suggest the others are lacking, but to emphasize the profound nature of "Muntana." Singer Archie Roach also tells the tale of his own redemption from the drunken hell of his lost years on the grog. This is deeply moving stuff that's full of hope despite the undertone of sorrow and loss.

review by
Dirk Logemann

17 May 2008

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