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Australia 2011
Directed by
Natasha Gadd / Rhys Graham
65 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Murundak: Songs Of Freedom

Murundak - Songs of Freedom follows The Black Arm Band, an Aboriginal music collective on a tour around Australia and to the UK. It interweaves the music with a look at the history of the Aboriginal protest movement and with interviews with the individual performers including Kutcha Edwards, Ruby Hunter, Archie Roach, Dan Sultan, as well as Shane Howard, whose anthemic ‘Solid Rock’ took Aboriginal consciousness onto the Top 40 (oddly, however, there s no sign of Peter Garrett or Midnight Oil).

It was a timely tour as the conservative Howard Government was in power when the tour began in 2006 but within 18 months of the first concert, it had been swept away in a vote of popular revulsion and Labor PM, Kevin Rudd famously said sorry for the White Man’s shabbiness. Although there is some archival material from the '70s and '80s, the main emphasis is on profiling the performers and the role that song has played in giving voice to their pain, both personal and political. This is revealing, particularly in the case of Archie Roach and his (now deceased) partner Ruby Hunter, for whom music literally provided a way of saving themselves from life on the streets. 

Murundak - Songs of Freedom is both a comment on Australian Aboriginal history and a document of its evolution.

DVD Extras: Additional live performances; Interviews and scenes with featured artists

Available from: Madman




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