Kev Carmody believes young people will bring lasting equality for Indigenous Australians

PASSING IT ON: Kev Carmody is ecstatic his songs have been given a new lease of life on the re-release of his tribute album, Cannot Buy My Soul.
PASSING IT ON: Kev Carmody is ecstatic his songs have been given a new lease of life on the re-release of his tribute album, Cannot Buy My Soul.

CLICK on the comments section of an online news article on house prices and climate change and you'll inevitably stumble across inter-generational battles.

Baby boomer pitched against Millennial. At 74, legendary singer-songwriter Kev Carmody might be a Boomer based on age, but he doesn't view younger generations with skepticism.

He places great hope in Millennials. Carmody believes they will finally create the changes that will bridge the Indigenous and non-Indigenous divide in Australia and bring about positive solutions for climate change.

"You're globally connected," Carmody says from the verandah of his bush property outside Ballandean, in Queensland.

"I've come from the era where you sent letters and when we were getting the protests together in the '60s and '70s we had to use a telephone and try to get onto people.

"You young fellas are gonna change it. Talking to high school students, they're not only really concerned about deaths in custody and Black Lives Matter, but also the whole bloody climate of this Earth."

For decades Carmody has used his folk, rock and country songs to protest for racial equality in Australia.

Carmody's collaboration with Paul Kelly, From Little Things Big Things Grow, is undoubtedly the most famous song written about Aboriginal land rights and reconciliation.

The recent global uprising of the Black Lives Matter movement has given Carmody hope that lasting change can be a reality.

"I can't believe those 40-year-old songs that I did are just as relevant today," he says. "Deaths in custody - we've had 437 deaths in custody [since 1991] and not one person has been bloody charged. Get real. It's a whole indictment on society and the concept of this being a democratic country."

Youth continue to inspire Carmody musically too. On Friday the Carmody tribute album Cannot Buy My Soul will be re-released with new recordings from Courtney Barnett, Kasey Chambers & Jimmy Barnes, Mo'Ju & Birdz, Kate Miller-Heidke and Archie Roach.

Cannot Buy My Soul was originally curated by Paul Kelly and released in 2007. It featured artists like John Butler, Bernard Fanning, The Drones and The Waifs and helped introduce Carmody's music to a young audience.

Kelly's partner Sian Darling was behind Cannot Buy My Soul's latest re-issue. It's a diverse mix, from Barnett's naked acoustic version of Just For You to Mo'Ju & Birdz's R'n'B and hip-hop revision of Rider In The Rain, off 1993's Bloodlines.

"They put their own words to it," Carmody says with enthusiasm. "The theme stays the same, but they reinterpret it for another generation. It's so much a part of the oral tradition.

"If you look at Irish music or Jewish music. Every culture in the world has passed on stuff like that. It's great seeing that by people presenting it, it becomes our song, not the individual's."

Cannot Buy My Soul - The Songs of Kev Carmody is re-released on Friday.

This story Kev Carmody holds faith that youth-led future will right past first appeared on Newcastle Herald.