Acclaimed singer-songwriter Shane Howard has received an Australia Day honour as a Member (AM) General Division in the Australia Day honours “for significant service to the performing arts as a singer, songwriter and guitarist, to the recording industry, and to Indigenous musicians.”
Mr Peter Bruce Noble of Lennox Head, NSW – who also happens to be the Director of Bluesfest – received received a medal (OAM) “For service to live and recorded music, to tourism, and to the community.” Mr Noble is celebrating more than two decades at the helm of Bluesfest which has won dozens of awards, including four Helpmann Awards for Best Contemporary Music Festival and Australian Event of the Year at the Australian Event Awards. It has also received numerous nominations in the Pollstar Awards for Best International Music Festival. Mr Noble also won the Rolling Stone Australia Award for his services to Australian Music.
Joseph Tawadros was also honoured “for significant service to music as an accomplished oud performer, composer and recording artist.” Children’s entertainer Patsy Biscoe was also recognised.
Howard told the Sydney Morning Herald that he saw the irony in receiving an Australia Day award for ‘a song about the genocide of indigenous inhabitants upon white settlement.’ Howard wrote the 1982 hit single Solid Rock, about white settlement, for Goanna. The song has recently been recorded by Scott Darlow with Howard as a special guest.
According to Howard, the inspiration came on a ten-day camping trip to Uluru during 1980 where he had a “spiritual awakening” which brought “the fire in the belly” to the surface over injustices to Australia’s indigenous peoples.
“I realised that this country that I grew up in, that I thought was my country, wasn’t.” said Howard. “I had to reassess my whole relationship with the land and the landscape, and understand that we had come from somewhere else, and we had dis-empowered a whole race of people when we arrived.”
‘Solid Rock’ reached No.2 on the Singles chart when it was originally released and stayed in the Top 50 for 6 months.
A video for Darlow’s ‘Solid Rock’ single is currently being filmed and features ex AFL champions Anthony Koutoufidies and Robert Dipierdomenico, singers Ash Grunwald, Fatai and John Butler, and personalities Jeff Fatt (the wiggles) and ex NRL champion Gordon Tallis.