From the wings of a darkened stage drifts the evocative, slightly haunting sound of clap sticks. A stoically paced figure slowly emerges singing in his traditional language. This mesmerising introduction heralds a performance by renowned Aboriginal singer/songwriter and proud Mutti Mutti, Yorta Yorta and Nari Nari man, Kutcha Edwards.
The show is arranged in sequences exploring Kutcha’s life through the themes of Country, Birth, Youth, Politics, Love, Culture, Healing and Hope. Each theme is bathed in individualised colours and enhanced by stunning projections that amplify the poignancy of Kutcha’s original songs and stories.
Kutcha’s new album CIRCLING TIME features songs chosen to complement each thematic segment of the show, culminating in a finale in which the audience is invited to participate, raising their voices in a unified song of hope. People are enriched by their encounter with Kutcha and left with a broader understanding of Aboriginal culture and how the policies of yesterday have impacted and continue to do so. Without a doubt Kutcha leaves audiences enthralled with his performance, his beautiful voice, charismatic stage presence and with a deeper understanding of the Australia’s first people.
Kutcha Edwards has been prolifically combining songwriting and activism since 1991, when he joined Koori group Watbalimba and began the remarkable journey that has taken him from the tiny Riverina town of Balranald to tours of Australia and the world. It is his experiences as a survivor of the Stolen Generations and his proud Mutti Mutti, Yorta Yorta and Nari Nari heritage that has shaped his diverse creative output in groups like Blackfire and The Black Arm Band. At the same time he's also been able to forge a successful solo career combining his ‘Bidgee’ blues with traditional songs of people and country.
Beginning in 2002 with his friends Paul Kelly and Paul Hester (Crowded House) he created his first solo album, Cooinda. In 2007, he released his second solo CD titled Hope, co-produced with Richard Pleasance. Inspired by the Songlines told on the albums, Kutcha wrote, produced and performed his first theatre-based and VIPA award winning show, Songlines of a Mutti Mutti Man, to full houses at the Arts Centre Melbourne’s George Fairfax Studio. Kutcha created a one man version of his story called yuyukatha and toured it throughout Victoria. He has since produced two further solo albums blak n blu and Beneath the Surface.
Kutcha says music chose him and the same can be said for his work in radio and prisons. He has produced Beyond the Bars Live Prison Radio broadcasts with 3CR in Fitzroy for the last 20 years. The broadcast received a Human Rights award for the work of giving voice to the voiceless.
More recently, Kutcha created and premiered a successful Screen Australia web series Kutcha’s Koorioke at Yirramboi Arts Festival 2019, with more episodes planned. Joining Kutcha in the car in Series 1 are artists Archie Roach, Dan Sultan, Alice Skye, Bart Willoughby, Bunna Lawrie, Emily Wurramara plus Elaine Crombie and local legend and regular passenger, Uncle Jack Charles.
Kutcha latest album Circling Time was recorded during Victoria’s extensive lockdowns and released in mid-2021. Rhythms Music Magazine reviewer Trevor J Leeden writes, ‘Circling Time is a magnificent, life affirming triumph, and Kutcha is quite possibly the finest contemporary singer of his generation.’
Kutcha uses music to create connections across cultures, generations, and spaces. With an innate ability to communicate, he uses his unique, diverse talents to nurture understanding and self-knowledge amongst all those with whom he has contact. Kutcha is a Songman, not simply a songwriter. He draws on a profound sense of all those who have gone before him on this land, along with his own life experiences, to help his audiences understand themselves, reconnect with their culture and promote cultural understanding. His music touches the soul and through his humour and insights we realise that with recognition of the true Aboriginal history, there can be hope of reconciliation.