Kutcha Edwards has been prolifically combining activism and songwriting since 1991, when he joined Koori group Watbalimba and began the remarkable journey that has taken him from the tiny Riverina town of Balranald to tours of Australia and the world. It is his experiences as a member of the Stolen Generations and his proud Mutti Mutti heritage that has shaped his diverse creative output in groups like Blackfire and the Black Arm Band. At the same time he’s been able to forge a successful solo career combining the blues with traditional songs of people and country. Beginning in 2002 with his friends Paul Kelly and Paul Hester (Crowded House) assuming production duties on his first solo album Cooinda. In 2007, he released his second solo CD title Hope, co-produced with Richard Pleasance. Inspired by the Songlines told on the albums, Kutcha wrote, produced and performed his first theatre based show, Songlines of a Mutti Mutti Man, which enjoyed full houses at the George Fairfax Studio at the Victorian Arts Centre and also had a sell out run at Arts House, North Melbourne in 2008. The show had two sell-out seasons and was recognised with a Victorian Indigenous Performing Arts (VIPA) Award. Kutcha created a one-man version of Songlines of a Mutti Mutti Man, called yuyukatha, which he toured in theatres and to school groups around Melbourne and throughout regional Victoria.
Kutcha uses music to create connections across cultures, generations, and spaces. With an innate ability to communicate, he uses his talents to nurture understanding and self-knowledge amongst all those with whom he has contact. As a performer, Kutcha believes he has a responsibility to engage with communities beyond his formal performances. He likes to ‘get to know the mob’, rather than simply walk in and out to perform his shows. It is important for him to get to know local communities and to act culturally, adhering to protocols.
Kutcha regards himself as a song man, not simply a songwriter. He draws on a profound sense of all those who have gone before him on this land, along with his own life experiences, to help his audiences understand their own experiences, reconnect with their culture and promote cultural understanding. He draws strength from his family, country and his inheritance of a culture that stretches back over thousands of years.
Kutcha’s experience of profound loss as a member of the Stolen Generations, along with the examples set by inspirational elders; have motivated him to ‘give back’ to the community in other ways beyond his music. He has great empathy for those who have been institutionalised and for decades has presented workshops in prisons, juvenile justice centres and schools. Through the experience of song writing and music, he aims to help those who are somewhat lost to find themselves, and gain hope for the future.