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Rockwiz is a laid back musical quiz show on SBS in Australia on Saturday nights. There are two teams of three, with each team including two audience members and a musical guest. It’s hosted by comedian Julia Zemiro and at the end of each round the scores are displayed on hand written cards by the singlet and stubby wearing Dugald McAndrew. The highlight of the show is usually the two musical guests getting together to perform a duet at the end. All good fun.

I especially wanted to highlight the duet Australian musicians Archie Roach and Sara Storer did, the wonderful ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’. This protest song was co-written by Aussie folk singers Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody and has become something of an anthem for Indigenous land rights in Australia. Here are the liner notes about this particular version.

It tells the story of the Gurindji people’s land-claim protest at Wave Hill Station in the Northern Territory. Vincent Lingiarri led the protest for eight years, quietly demanding justice. The matter was settled in 1975 when Gough Whitlam ran a handful of sand through his fingers into the hands of Lingiarri. The band and Sara and Archie created a memorable duet…Sara, wide-eyed and innocent, almost deferring to Archie, who seems to grow more determined and animated as the song progresses, clenching fists, bouncing on the balls of his feet, pointing to the turning stars and conducting the audience.

I find this song incredibly powerful and it never fails to move me. It shows what can be accomplished by determination and a belief in justice. This is the verse that gets me every time.

And Vincent sat down with big politicians
This affair they told him is a matter of state
Let us sort it out, your people are hungry
Vincent said no thanks, we know how to wait

I also love the audience participation at the end of this version. Gives me goosebumps. Gorgeous. Kev Carmody and The Waifs also did an absolutely stunning version at Womadelaide in Adelaide earlier this year – they played it a few times on ABC 2 and it was wonderful. Wish I’d been there.

From Little Things Big Things Grow – Archie Roach & Sara Storer

And the original…

From Little Things Big Things Grow – Paul Kelly

And the beautiful Waifs version…

From Little Things Big Things Grow – The Waifs

Plus other duets from Rockwiz…

Heroes (David Bowie Cover) – Adrian Belew & Martha Wainwright

Long Time Gone ( The Everly Brothers Cover) – Neko Case & Josh Pike

Across The Universe (The Beatles Cover) – Liam O’Maonlai & Eddi Reader

Careless Whisper (George Michael Cover) – Paul Dempsey & Kate Miller-Heidke

Flower pic from here.

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