Extraordinary musician brings Afghanistan experience to Queensland

@JCU Extraordinary musician brings Afghanistan experience to Queensland

Extraordinary musician brings Afghanistan experience to Queensland

Pictured: Fred Smith at Kamp Holland. Image courtesy of the Australian Defence Force

Twelve regional towns will be transported to the frontline in Afghanistan, when Australian diplomat turned singer-songwriter and author Fred Smith embarks on an epic tour across the state.

From 25 March to 7 May 2017 Fred will bring the dust, heat, frustration, fighting and camaraderie captured in his poignant and witty album Dust of Uruzgan to Ipswich, Mount Isa, Ayr, Mackay, Gympie, Bundaberg, Noosa, Goondiwindi, Toowoomba, Maleny as well as Tamworth and Gunnedah in Northern New South Wales. The tour will also include a number of lectures and book talks.

In November 2016 Fred toured to Millmerran, Miles, Charleville, Quilpie, Jundah, Longreach, Emerald, Biloela and Yeppoon.

Fred Smith was the first Australian diplomat sent to work in Uruzgan Province, southern Afghanistan, and the last to leave. In the words of Colonel Jason Blain speaking in an Australian Story feature about Fred,

“He’s actually walked in the same footsteps of those soldiers… He ate, he slept, he bathed, he worked, he lived with them and  when soldiers died, he mourned with them.”

His Dust of Uruzgan performances, which combine storytelling, song and projected images by military photographers, has moved audiences to tears and laughter.

The title track has recently been covered by Australian country music icon Lee Kernaghan. Fred’s talents as a raconteur, his wry humour and larrikin spirit, have prompted critics to label him:

“an exceptional songwriter and certainly the equal of Bogle, Walker and Shuman.”

Fred’s performances will also give audience members a chance to understand the experiences of the 20,000 Australians who served in Afghanistan, many of whom live in Queensland, so they don’t have to walk the land as strangers like a generation of Vietnam veterans did.

The tour is supported by The Playing Queensland Fund and arTour, initiatives of the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, part of the Department of the Premier and Cabinet.

arTour’s Creative Broker, Luke Harriman, said Fred Smith was one of Australia's most interesting songwriters, with two decades working on peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan and the South Pacific, touring in America and travelling the Australian festival circuit.

“Fred’s guitar served as a bridge, not only to the troops, but also to the people and tribal leaders of war-torn Afghanistan. His songs have become anthems for soldiers and their families, and his masterful storytelling can help Queensland audiences connect with the reality of service on the frontline,” Mr Harriman said.

The two-hour performance is recommended for audiences over 12 years old, with parental guidance due to themes of war.

As part of the tour, Mates4Mates liaison officers will be in attendance at Dust of Uruzgan performances in Ipswich, Ayr, Mackay, Gympie, Bundaberg, Noosa, Goondiwindi, Toowoomba and Maleny.

Mates4Mates is a national organisation that supports current and ex-serving Australian Defence Force members and their families, who are wounded, injured or ill as a result of their service. The liaison officers will be connecting locals with their relevant outreach services that are focused on physical rehabilitation and wellbeing, psychological services, employment and education, and a variety of other programs. For more information on Mates4Mates, click here.

Pictured: Fred Smith playing to Dutch troops at Poppys winter 2010. Image courtesy of the Australian Defence Force

Fred Smith has already toured many towns in Australia, critical acclaim includes:

… the music of Fred Smith comes

straight from the front line…raw, ribald, but also capable of moving grown men to tears.

Sydney Morning Herald

A great work of art, a great suite  of songs…an amazing thing if you get to see him perform it in concert.

Richard Glover, ABC 702

These 12 songs have a singular power and emotional honesty, because Smith was actually there…a triumph of poetic journalism and songwriting.

The Saturday Age

TOUR DETAILS

Where:

Ipswich

Date:

Saturday 25 March 2017

Time:

7.30pm

Venue:

Ipswich Civic Centre

For more information clickhere

Where:

Mount Isa

Date:

Thursday 20 April 2017

Time:

8pm

Venue:

Mt Isa Civic Centre

For more information click here

Where:

Ayr

Date:

Friday 21 April 2017

Time:

7.30pm

Venue:

Burdekin Theatre

For more information click here

Where:

Mackay

Date:

Saturday 22 April 2017

Time:

7.30pm

Where:

Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre

For more information click here

Mackay Book Talk

Saturday 22 April 2017, 3pm - Dudley Denny City Library

Where:

Gympie

Date:

Monday 24 April 2017

Time:

7.00pm

Venue:

Gympie Civic Centre

Where:

Bundaberg

Date:

Friday 28 April 2017

Time:

7.30pm

Venue:

Moncrieff Theatre

For more information click here

Bundaberg Book

Talk Thursday 27 April 2017, 6pm - Bundaberg Regional Library

Where:

Noosa

Date:

Saturday 29 April 2017

Time:

7.30pm

Venue:

The J - Noosa

For more information click here

Where:

Goondiwindi

Date:

Tuesday 2 May 2017

Time:

7.00pm

Venue:

Goondiwindi Civic Centre

Goondiwindi Book

Talk Tuesday 2 May 2017, 10.30pm Goondiwindi Library

Where:

Tamworth

Date:

Wednesday 3 May 2017

Time:

8.00pm

Venue:

Nundle Memorial Hall

For more information click here

Where:

Gunnedah

Date:

Thursday 4 May 2017

Time:

12.30pm

Venue:

Gunnedah Conservatorium

Where:

Toowoomba

Date:

Saturday 6 May 2017

Time:

7.30pm

Venue:

Armitage Centre - Heritage Bank Auditorium

For more information click here

Toowoomba Book

Talk Friday 5 May 2017, 6pm Toowoomba City Library

Where:

Maleny

Date:

Sunday 7 May 2017

Time:

2.00pm

Venue:

Maleny Community Centre

For more information click here