Spotlight On AWME - Benny Walker shares his experience interviewing Bart Willoughby

Tuesday, 09 Dec 2014

Q: How did you feel when APRA AMCOS approached you to interview legendary Aboriginal songwriter Bart Willoughby for AWME 2014? 

Of course I was going to say "yes" but I was a little bit nervous to be honest. It was such an incredible opportunity to get to hear a few of Bart's stories from his point of view, as opposed to reading things second hand. When I was doing some research for the session, I thought I had some idea of how the questions would be answered...that was my first mistake! Bart has a brilliant way with words and so much to say. In fact after I asked the first question I didn't speak again for nearly 20 minutes!  

Although he didn't necessarily stick to the subject matter, he never just waffled on.  His outlook on life, music and people is really beautiful. After one of his answers I felt like I had to recap three things he'd said:

"Finding music was like finding love for the first time."
He also said, "...racism isn't a black and white issue. It's a good versus bad issue." 

He also talked about not seeing someone's physical appearance, but seeing their soul. Those things were quite profound I thought.

"I hope we become one from music. We don’t come from violence we come from love." 

Q: No Fixed Address were known for paving the way for contemporary Aboriginal music in Australia. Has this influenced you and your career as a songwriter?I think No Fixed Address has done exactly as you said, paved the way for Indigenous artists in Australia. That would be the influence they had on my career and others. 

Q: What were your AWME 2014 highlights?  

Highlights for me were interviewing Bart, showcasing at Shebeen for the pre-opening of the Expo and doing a duet with Leah Flanagan as well as my own stuff. But the biggest highlight was my main showcase opening for Pete Murray to a sold out Playhouse Theatre at the Arts Centre. 

That was a show that will forever stick in my mind. It's hard to describe the feeling from the lead up, the show and the post show euphoria you get. I was on a high for a couple of days after that. The crowd was amazing and the sound on stage was perfect. If it went pear-shaped I only had myself to blame! 

Highlights for Bart Willoughby? "Playing with No Fixed Address in London - we played Black Man's Rights"

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