Known as the Koori King of Country and Black Elvis, country music legend Roger Knox is performing at NAIDOC celebrations in Ipswich next week.
With a career spanning four decades, Knox knows how powerful music can be.
“It’s so important to tell our stories- to share our heritage and our history,” Knox said.
“But it’s more than that, music is healing. It uplifts us.”
Knox credits music with getting him through several tough times, including a plane crash as a 33-year-old that saw him hospitalised for six months with severe burns and injuries.
“I spent all that time in hospital and almost gave up, but I made it, and I put it down to music,” Knox said.
“Music is part of the soul and I believe that lifted me up.
“There’s an old saying that says: ‘Music gives the soul to the universe, wings to the imagination, flight to the mind, and life to everything’.
“I believe it’s healing in more ways than one.”
Ipswich NAIDOC Family and Cultural Celebrations
Thursday 11 July
10 am – 2pm
Briggs Road Sporting Complex
121 – 135 Briggs Road, Flinders View
Enjoy a day of celebration with cultural performers, information stalls, entertainment and food
Knox describes his sound as “country with an emphasis on Aboriginal spirituality and storytelling”.
He says the music he plays is influenced by many things- from the gospel music his grandma played him as a kid to 30 years spent living in Tamworth, as well as his culture.
Last year, Knox was inducted into the National Indigenous Music Awards (NIMA) Hall of Fame.
But despite being well-known across Australia’s country music scene, he’s had bigger success overseas.
He’s toured to sell-out crowds in Canada and the US and has just finished recording his latest album in Chicago, collaborating with some of country music’s heavyweights.
Knox is passionate about mentoring young Aboriginal performers and doing lots of hands-on work in schools and prisons.
“The arts, song and dance are forgotten about in prisons, but these are some of the people who really need it,” Knox said.
“You can see it makes a difference because after I go into prisons, you hear that there will be no trouble for weeks afterwards.
“It’s about helping people, uplifting people through music.”
Knox says NAIDOC Week is a good reminder for everyone to come together and focus more media attention on Aboriginal success stories.
“We’re the oldest living culture on the planet- and we need to celebrate our uniqueness, our culture and our achievements,” Knox said.
“NAIDOC Week is really important as an Aboriginal celebration, but we also invite the wider community to be a part of it.
“When you can use music and celebrations like this to develop understanding, then we can all get on.”