Shane Howard


Shane Howard is one of Australia's most important and influential writers and singers.

Born in 1955 in South West Victoria, Australia, Shane Howard combines a deep understanding of poetic and musical folk traditions and captures something essential of the spirit of Australia in words and music. Nevertheless, his songs have a global reach and explore universal themes.

Shane was the founding member of the legendary Australian band, Goanna who released three albums. Goanna's 'Spirit Of Place' album (1982) was the first Australian album to go to the top of the Australian charts in its first week of release. The album was released in 35 territories worldwide, but its greatest commercial success was in Australia.

The first single from the album, 'Solid Rock', also topped the charts back in 1982, displacing 'Rock The Casbah' by The Clash. Solid Rock is now an Australian iconic song that can still be heard regularly on Australian radio. The song was the first commercial song to use a didjeridu. Its powerful lyrics and music denounced the injustice that Aboriginal Australia had lived with, since the colonisation of Australia in 1788.

In 1983, Shane wrote and recorded the song, Let The Franklin Flow, with Goanna and friends, under the nom de plume, Gordon Franklin & The Wilderness Ensemble, as a fundraiser and to protest the damming of Tasmania's spectacular Franklin River. In 1984, Goanna released the single, Song For Africa, as a fundraiser for the East African humanitarian crisis. Shane Howard has been generous with his time, lending support to numerous environmental and Aboriginal and human rights campaigns across Australia.

His solo albums have been well received critically and are consistent sellers. The 1993 single Flesh and Blood went on to be recorded by Mary Black who had a top 5 Irish single with her version of the song. He has produced albums for many other artists. Predominantly, these have been Aboriginal artists: Archie Roach, The Pigram Brothers, Joe Geia, Jimmy Chi, Patricia Clarke, Andy Alberts, Robbie Bundle, Rocky Carbine & Keith Williams.

He has also produced tracks for Irish songstress Mary Black as well as Mossie Scanlon, Oriel Glennen and Colin Buchanan. His songs have been recorded by many artists including Mary Black, Troy CassarDaley, John Farnham and Lene Siel (Denmark).

He has toured Ireland, Australia, Holland and the US with Mary Black. A special guest of the Guinness Tour of Irish Music 1997. He performed with Joe Geia for Nelson Mandela's Australian visit to Melbourne in 2000. A guest performer for the Australian reception to welcome Nobel Peace Prize winner, Rigoberta Menchu. A special guest for Senator Bob Brown's 25th Anniversary of the saving of the Franklin River in July 2008.

He was named Artist of the Year for the 2005 Port Fairy Folk Festival. In announcing the award, Festival Director, Jamie McKew said, "Shane Howard bridges the land between poet and song-writer; between prophet and singer; even between white fellas and indigenous artists". He performed Solid Rock at the 2006 Australian Football League Grand Final to an audience of 90,000 people, and again at the 2007 Australian Football League, 'Dreamtime at the 'G'' match.

He was awarded a Fellowship by the Australia Council for the Arts in 2000, in recognition of his contribution to Australian musical life. Howard was also an Australian representative at the 2000 North American Folk Alliance convention and is a life member of the Australian Folk Alliance. In 2006 he performed at 'Downunder- New York' with Colin Hay and Austen Tayshus at Irving Plaza, New York.

As a founding member of 'The Black Arm Band', in 2008 and 2009 Howard traveled with the ensemble performances at WOMADUK, The Sydney International Festival, WOMADelaide, The Melbourne International Arts Festival and the London International Festival of Theatre.

In 2011 he recorded his 11th solo album, Goanna Dreaming in Tucson, Arizona, with expatriate Australian, Kerryn Tolhurst. He released a book of lyrics and a childrens book of the song, 'Solid Rock', illustrated with images by the young people from the communities of Mutitjulu, Imanpa & Kaltakatjara, that all have strong connections to Uluru.

2012 marked the 30th anniversary of the release of the iconic song Solid Rock, the landmark song from the album, Spirit of Place. To celebrate the anniversary of this great song, there was a community concert held at Uluru and the release of a new album - 'The Other Side of the Rock'.

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