Dust of Uruzgan revolves around the performance of a collection of songs written by Iain ‘Fred’ Smith during his two years working as a diplomat and political advisor alongside Australian Forces in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan.
On returning from his first trip to Afghanistan, he released songs on the acclaimed album Dust of Uruzgan, described in the Sydney Morning Herald as “a cycle of songs that are raw, remarkably honest and suitably ambivalent about the nature of war... a collection of songs that offers an intimate perspective on the war in Afghanistan.” The recording has earned Smith comparisons to Eric Bogle, John Schumann and Don Walker. His music became legendary on the Multinational Base in Tarin Kowt.
In the Dust of Uruzgan performance, a stunning series of projected photographs from Afghanistan accompany his performance of songs from the album. As well as photographs and songs, Fred weaves in stories of life on the base, and of living and working in Uruzgan province. His tale accompanying the song Niet Swaffelen op de Dixi is a humorous and light hearted look at life on the base whilst the story behind the writing of Sappers’ Lullaby pulls at the heartstrings. The powerful imagery of the photographs taken by military and civilian photographers, combined with the narrative and songs, provides the audience with a rare and candid insight into life in a war zone.
The show has been described as “an incredibly articulate and witty commentary of Smith’s experiences in the troubled country, punctuated with some of the most meaningful song writing you’re ever likely to encounter in Australian music”. The larrikin spirit is well and truly alive in Smith’s work. His wry humour and masterful story telling eases the audience through some harsh and complex terrain. Through his commentary and songs, Smith deftly sets the war in its historical and political context, looking at the situation through the eyes of Australian soldiers, as well as from the point of view of Afghans who have struggled to survive 35 years of war and chaos.
Dust of Uruzgan touches hearts with humour, honesty and a delicacy befitting its grounding in the harsh realities of this difficult war. As the mission in Uruzgan draws to a close, this show is an important offering for an Australian public eager to understand what it was all about. Between 2014 and 2018, Australia is commemorating the ANZAC Centenary, marking 100 years since our nation’s involvement in the First World War.
“Fred Smith is the most interesting folk musician working in Australia. In tune with the times and prepared to reach beyond predictable folk formats, he is endlessly innovative and creative. He is also very funny” Bruce Elder, Sydney Morning Herald
“Fred Smith is one of this country’s most literate, humorous, intelligent and empathic songwriters.”
Warwick McFadyen, the Sunday Age
Over the last 15 years Fred Smith has emerged as one of Australia’s most interesting songwriters. He has spent the last 15 years working on peace keeping missions in Afghanistan and the South Paci c, touring in America and travelling the Australian festival circuit.
He is the subject of the film Bougainville Sky about his time in the war-torn islands of the South Pacific where his work as a musician and radio broadcaster contributed to the success of the world’s first unarmed peace keeping force. He is also the subject of an ABC Australian Story Documentary released in October 2013.
Fred was the first Australian diplomat to be posted to Uruzgan in July of 2009. He wrote a powerful collection of songs about the realities of life for soldiers and civilians in this difficult war, recently released as the highly acclaimed album Dust of Uruzgan.
He has release multiple CDs, two of which won National Film and Sound Archives Awards. Some were joint efforts with Liz Frencham and the Spooky Men’s Chorale.
In parallel with all this, he has maintained a career with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He lives in Canberra with his wife Maryanne.
Date: Sunday, 7th May at 2.00pm
Venue: Maleny Community Centre, Maple St, Maleny
Tickets: Click here for Trybooking
or visit - Maleny Information Centre (cash only) or phone John on 5494 2584
$30.00 (adults) - $25.00 (members) - $15.00 (students) - $25.00 (groups 6+)
Dust of Uruzgan By Iain "Fred" Smith
Maleny Community Centre, Maleny
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