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Archie Roach Foundation

Archie Roach Foundation - Ruby Hunter - 4 CD Anthology

Archie Roach Foundation - Ruby Hunter - 4 CD Anthology

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It’s an honor, a privilege really, to be able to present this collection of music from the late, the great Ruby Hunter, sharing songs from her first two albums, Thoughts Within and Feeling Good, songs she wrote with children from Cape York in Butcher Paper Texta Blackboard and Chalk and songs from the film Wash My Soul in the River’s Flow, from a 2004 concert called Kura Tungar.

Ruby was a very cultural woman. Her identity as a proud Ngarrindjeri, Pitjantjatjara and Kokatha woman from South Australia was very strong. The significance of her cultural upbringing, growing up with her old people on the Coorong before she was taken, only gives you a better understanding of her music. Ruby loved her bush jewelry and the clothes she wore represented her culture.

Ruby had this great way of writing songs. It was so honest and sincere. She would just write down what came into her head without thinking too much about it. It was pure, straight from her heart and mind. When I sit down to write songs I am always thinking – is there a better way I can say that; is there a better word I can use.


Thoughts Within

The songs on Ruby’s debut album, Thoughts Within, were influenced by how the world affected her and those she knew and loved. Ruby thought a lot about how she saw life and how life treated her. Her songs explored how she felt not only as a woman but an Aboriginal Woman, how she navigated her way through life, overcoming the obstacles she had to face because of who she was. She always said her brother Jeffrey Hunter suggested the album title when he said to her ‘I didn’t know you had those thoughts within’.

Feeling Good.

The songs on her second album Feeling Good were just that; feel good songs. In life you might have a bad start but you can have a good finish. The album was about coming out from a dark place, coming into the light and feeling a lot better about yourself and about life in general. Feeling strong as a woman and in particular an Aboriginal woman also influenced her songwriting on this album.

Butcher Paper Texta Blackboard and Chalk

In 1997 Ruby and I toured Cape York in far north Queensland doing songwriting workshops with school children. Ruby had this gift of being able to talk to children; becoming childlike herself. I witnessed this amazing transformation and it was a beautiful thing to see. I remember asking Ruby ‘Mum if you had the chance to put your children’s songs onto an album what would you call it?’ She thought about for a minute then said ‘how about Butcher Paper Texta Blackboard and Chalk?’ To this day I remember saying ‘why would you call it that?’ ‘Well that’s how we wrote the songs on butcher paper with texta and blackboard with chalk,’ she said. So when I talk about her music and her honesty that’s it in a nutshell, you can’t get any more honest than that!

Songs from the film Wash My Soul in the River’s Flow

Songs from the film Wash My Soul in the River’s Flow came from a concert Ruby and I performed with Paul Grabowsky and the Australian Art Orchestra back in 2004 called ‘Kura Tungar – Songs from the River’.

Ruby loved the Murray River and the Coorong. That’s where she was the happiest. These songs are a great refelction on who Ruby was, from the time of her birth to the time she was taken and about her love for her culture and her people, the Ngarrandjeri people.


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