BUTCHER PAPER TEXTA BLACKBOARD AND CHALK is ananthology of lyrics and illustrations by Archie’s late wife and soul-mate, Ruby Hunter, gathered from their travels in Cape York, working with local children.
A special screening of the bonus documentary that is on the flip side of the CD was screened before the launch to an emotional audience that included 60 local schoolchildren.
From the Foreward by Archie Roach…
“What has always fascinated me about Ruby Hunter was her ability to communicate with children, the ease with which she could enter their world and become a child herself. Time and time again I observed this phenomenon, whether it was with our children, nephews and nieces or grandchildren; always inspiring me.
So it was in 1997 when we toured the communities of Cape York in far north Queensland with a band and three of our children, that I was to witness Ruby’s magic again. We began the journey at Aurukun, where Ruby would ask the children what they loved most about living there and slowly as they felt more comfortable with her they overcame their natural shyness and eagerly let us into their world. The song “Aurukun Moonlight” was written during this visit and the children were asked to perform it with us at a concert we did a couple of nights later. As the time came for the children to get up and sing there were more of them on stage than were at the school when Ruby wrote the song. When Ruby cheekily pointed this out to them one little fella said he heard his cousin singing it and after finding out they’d be singing it on stage with us, wanted to sing it too.
After our visit to Aurukun we heard that the school attendance was up 100 per cent and that the children wanted to write songs.
This story pretty much sums up the rest of the tour, traveling through the beautiful country of Cape York visiting communities such as Lockhart River, Kowanyama, Coen, Napranum, Pormpuraaw, Bamaga and others. Most of the songs in this book are from these places but others such as “I Love My Garden” “Check It Out” and “Dippy Dippy Dip Dip” were inspired by our grandchildren. Ruby always talked about doing a children’s album along with a book of lyrics before she left us to go back to her “Dreaming” (before her human life when she was a Pelican and after her human life when she became a Pelican again).
So here we have the book of children’s songs, captured beautifully with paintings by Ruby Hunter. I hope you enjoy it while listening to the album, Butcher Paper, Texta, Blackboard and Chalk, so called because most of the songs were written that way.