Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: Warriparinga Way featuring Archie Roach and the Yabu Band

An experience like no other


Presented by: Southern Cultural Immersion
Reviewed 19th March 2022

I would like to acknowledge that this event took place on Kaurna land and that many Nations of Aboriginal people came together to make this show possible. I pay my respects to Kaurna Elders past, present and emerging and those present in person and spirit at this wonderful event. Few people know what it means to connect yourself to Country, however Aboriginal people have been doing it for 60,000 years and Warriparinga Way featuring Archie Roach and the Yabu Band is an exemplary example of how this practice reinvigorates the soul.

Set on the lawn of the Living Kaurna Cultural Centre, guests were welcomed by staff with the Kaurna welcome Nina Marni and a painting marking wiped across our foreheads. As we walked past the fire pit circle, we were encouraged to place a piece of coastal heath on the fire and cleanse ourselves in the smoke. Gorgeous free-standing letters snaked down the lawn spelling Kaurna Country and as it got dark, they illuminated the area with beautiful colours of orange and green. There were crates and blankets set out for those that had forgotten to bring their own and some large umbrellas set up for those who wished to escape the evening sun. Warndu were on hand with incredible food, it was bush tucker like you have never seen before and I can honestly say eating their bush salad and watching the crowd devour barramundi burgers, Kangaroo sausages and native fruit salad, whilst enjoying the music really lifted the experience to an entirely new level of cultural immersion. Southern Cultural Immersion who run the Living Kaurna Cultural Centre also made the night extra special with their unique water bottles and faultless service.

Jack Buckskin was our MC for the night and his cultural dance group Kuma Kaaru Welcomed us to Country with several traditional dances and a smoking ceremony. Now despite the title of the show the opening act was Paul Ah Chee Ngala and a 3-piece band that included his son for their first ever time on stage together. There was a mixture of Paul’s music and a couple of covers, with the new songs from his EP being something I would most certainly listen to again on a regular basis. Whilst I hope the Yabu Band’s nonappearance is not due to anything serious, it was certainly a joyful experience to be introduced to Paul’s music and I can’t wait to attend his EP launch show on the 8th of May.

Finally, it was time for the magnificent Uncle Archie Roach to take to the stage. As he approached his stool the audience cheered and clapped for a man who as Jack and so many others describe; a legend!  Uncle Archie shared stories of his life, as a child who was stolen from his parents, his journey to find his family and the challenges he faced with alcohol and homelessness; his love for Ruby and the love story of how his parents had meet and how they just couldn’t hold one another after their children were taken and had ended their marriage. Archie never did get to see his parents again, after he was taken so as he sang the song about them with the last of the daylight fading away and the sounds of the birds in the trees with the stage set to the backdrop of the Tjilbruke narna arra, Tjilbruke Gateway artwork, your mind envisaged the love and the pain. With a set full of emotive songs, Uncle Archie did what he does best and took us on a journey to the bush where the Elders realized the children’s laughter had disappeared, to the streets of Melbourne with their beggar law and to the night out with Ruby where they encouraged everyone to dance.  As always it was an honor to listen to every word spoken and the songs that were sung but more than that, it was the incredible privilege you feel whenever you are in Uncle Archie’s presence that always makes his shows so memorable

I really hope to see this venue hosting more events like this, as they could certainly be a standout venue for the Fringe.

Reviewed by Tara Forbes-Godfrey

One Night Only – Season Ended

Rating out of 5: 5

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