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Singer, Songwriter & Musical Director

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that this website may contain Words of deceased persons. Users are warned that it may be culturally sensitive.

For the last thirty-seven years, David Arden has worked with many of the great First Nation and Non-First Nation artists from around the world. David was the front man for the Koori Youth Band, the band recorded there First EP live album back in 1986, as part of the Rock Against Racism Volume 2. David went on to work with many of the great First Nation acts from Hard Time Band, Archie Roach and the Altogether Band and Bart Willoughby and Mixed Relation Band (including Building Bridges) in 'N.S. W' and 'Melbourne‘from 1985 to 1989’. 

In 1990 to 1994 and again reunited in 2006 to 2010, David was a key guitarist and vocalist with the late Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter, He has toured with Archie, both nationally and internationally, performing his own song So Young on Archie's second album Jamu Dreaming.

David’s Second EP album Rainbow Man was released in 1996, with the new Altogether Band, The song is about Kirrae Wurrung elders from the Gunditjmara country. 

 

David toured internationally to West Belfast and the UK from 1996 to 1997 following up with a tour to FIJI in 1998. 

In 2006, David Arden was a founding member and Musical Director for The Black Arm Band, premiering as part of the Melbourne International Arts Festival. Murundak (alive”- Woirurrung*) The Black Arm Band ensemble are amongst the most respected names in Australian music; Archie Roach, Ruby Hunter, Bart Willoughby, Stephen Pigram, Carol Fraser, Peter Rotumah, Kutcha Edwards, Liz Cavanagh, Kev Carmody, Mark Atkins, Lou Bennett, Andy Albert’s, Joe Geia, Robbie Bundle and David Arden. These artists were joined by musicians that have added their own voices to first nation musical history including Paul Kelly and Shane Howard.

In 2007 David's Third album release Kookatha/Gunditjmara Clan, Is about identity and continues to provide insight to Australia and the world into his Aboriginal heritage.

Black Arm Band, Hidden Republic, premiered at the Melbourne International Arts Festival, it charts the unique journey of since its inception in 2009 from the Sydney Opera House and London’s Royal Festival Hall to remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the Northern Territory.

In 2010, David Arden was a Musical Director for Nukkan Ya Ruby (See Ya Later Ruby) it was a tribute to the late Ruby Hunter at Sydney Festival's opening night at the Domain with an impressive line-up of stars including her partner Archie Roach, her son Amos Roach, Renee Geyer, Paul Kelly, Emma Donovan, Uncle Jimmy Little, Tiddas, Dan Sultan, Shellie Morris, Radical Son, Kutcha Edwards, Katie Noonan, David Arden, Paul Grabowsky, Shane Howard and more.

In 2013, saw the single release of Freedom Called written in conjunction with leading Australian singer/songwriter Paul Kelly, which acknowledges the often forgotten Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander military service over the past 100 years. David was invited to perform it at the 2013 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dawn Ceremony Service at the Australian War Memorial Canberra.

David Arden performed his own song So Young at the AFL, Dreamtime at The G in front of a crow of 70,000 people at the 'MCG' in 2014.

David’s Fourth EP album Close My Eyes was released in 2016, The song is about Family.

David Arden's Fifth album Red Desert Man released in 2020. The album tracks are tales of old and new, of his family’s journey over four generations, into the hope, joy and struggle of his tribal and urban life. Red Desert Man is a beautiful Australian story about David's wife's Violet Arden people, Arrernte's forefather from the Alice Spring central desert country and David’s forefather from the Kokatha people from the west coast of Ceduna desert country. Their love story spans across countries. It’s about family, community, culture, custom, language and tribal life that is still alive and misunderstood in this country. 

In 2021, David Arden Musical Directed “A Fight For Survival” The Northlands Collective Production at the Meat Market - North Melbourne, premiering as part of the Yirramboi Festival 2021, AFFS Cast & Production Team: Gary Foley, Dedrie Baksh, Lyn Thorpe, Jill Morgan, Koori Youth Will Shake Spears, Jason Tamiru, Allara Briggs, Bruce Foley, Kutcha Edwards, Deniece Hudson, Shiralee Hood. 

 

In 2022, David Arden Musical Directed & Performed at the Songlines Music Aboriginal Corporation Who Proudly Presented the end of a week of celebrations a special NAIDOC Show - Get Up, Stand Up, Show Up & Shake A Leg: Celebrating and Acknowledge A Special Tribute To Legendary Yorta Yorta Songman, Guitarist and Songwriter Uncle Selwyn Burns @ Fairfax Theatre at the Art Centre Melbourne. David Arden, Daniel Jauregui, Brad Brown, Chris Cameron, Jake Amy, and Deadly Choir Singers: Monica Weightman, Deniece Hudson, Monica McDonald & David Arden performing new song: CALL IT OUT.

David Arden Musical Directed & Performed for Uncle Archie Roach State Memorial Service at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne on the 15th of Dec 2022. With a line up: Shane Howard, Goanna, Kutcha Edwards, Paul Kelly, Tiddas, Emma Donovan, Dan Sultan, Shellie Morris, Paul Grabowsky, Fred Leone, Deborah Cheetham, David Leha, Deline Briscoe, Amos Roach, The Pertame Children’s Choir, Dhungala Children’s Choir, Nancy Bates, Nola Lauch and many more.

2023, the St Kilda Festival A Tribute to Archie Roach presented by the Archie Roach Foundation we’re honoured that many of his long-time collaborators and friends are coming together to pay tribute to his musical life and legacy. Sally Dastey, Emma Donovan, Radical Son, David Arden, Nola Lauch and Rulla Kelly-Mansell.

 

2023, The Port Fairy Folk Festival on the new Archie Roach stage, with Sally Dastey, Amos Roach, Emma Donovan, Nola Lauch, David Arden, Deline Briscoe Music, BUMPY, Radical Son, Fred Leone, Gina Williams & Guy Ghouse, Helen Mountfort, Tamala Shelton, Nancy Bates, Candice Lorrae, Madi Colville Walker Music and Maylene Slater-Burns. And MC - Monica McDonald.

David Arden Performing at the 'A Bend in the River: A Tribute to Archie Roach AC' VIVID Festival 2023 in Sydney with the Mob, hosted by Becca Hatch & Dr. Shellie Morris Directed by Rhoda Roberts AO and presented by The Archie RoachFoundation, the evening celebrated the legacy of one of the country's most powerful and potent truth-tellers of Uncle Archie Roach. followed by stunning performances and storytelling from artists including: Uncle Kutcha Edwards, Deline Briscoe, Dan Sultan, Emma Donovan, Barkaa, Paul Kelly, DOBBY, Jalgany, Candice Lorrae, Radical Son, David Arden, Tenzin Choegyal, Tamala Shelton, Russel 'Rusty' Smith and Sally Dastey.

David Arden New released Sixth EP album Meetra - The Ballad of James Arden. The story of his great grand Father who was the keeper of tribal knowledge of the Gunditjmara peoples from the Western District of Victoria - Meetra - Means "Rise Up" Is the Gunditjmara - Keerray Wooroong Languages Translation From Yoolongteeyt, Dr Vicki Couzens.

 

2023, MEERTA – The Ballad of James Arden, Powerful Storytelling led by acclaimed Singer-Songwriter David Arden - Kokatha/Gunditjmara Songman. Premier The MEETRA Show at the Yirramboi Festival on the 11th and 12th May 2023, at The Pavilion, Arts Centre Melbourne, with the Wilin Centre, and the Students Orchestra from the Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music..

 

David Arden lastest Meetra - The Ballad of James Arden show will be touring around the country In 2024. The story book of David Arden five generations of David’s family’s journey from the Traditional and Urban life.

Photographs By T J Garvie

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