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Songwriter and diplomat to share stories of Afghanistan

Fred Smith

Acclaimed songwriter, performer and former Australian diplomat in Afghanistan, Fred Smith, will bring his show Dust of Uruzgan to the Wyalong Hall on Friday night 8 April.

To be performed the night before the much anticipated official unveiling of the Reg Rattey VC Memorial in West Wyalong, the show features Fred’s songs, story telling and haunting images of soldiers and civilians in the Uruzgan province of Afghanistan. He  is accompanied on this tour by double bassist Liz Frencham.

Written during two stints as a diplomat and political advisor, Fred Smith captures the experiences of soldiers working in the province. Smith’s artistry has earned him comparisons to song writing greats Don Walker, Eric Bogle and John Schumann.

Fred was the first diplomat to be sent to work in Uruzgan and he was the last to leave. Last year, he flew out on the afternoon of 2 November after performing the songs “Sapper’s Lullaby” and “Dust Of Uruzgan” at a memorial ceremony on Multinational Base in Tarin Kowt. Families of Australian servicemen lost in the Afghan conflict attended the event.

You may already be familiar with Fred Smith from his appearances at folk festivals around the country, on an episode of ABC’s Australian Story or during half-time at the NRL ANZAC Day match in 2014.

Fred has built a theatre show that features songs from the Dust of Uruzgan album accompanied by stories and projected photographs by The Australian Defence Force and other photographers. "I think it's important to give the Australian public an accurate account of what it was like for the 20,000 or so Australian soldiers and civilians who served in Afghanistan," Mr Smith said.

The show will include footage of Uruzgan leaders explaining the impact Australians had on the province. "There's a lazy post-Vietnam era type scepticism out there about our involvement in Afghanistan, but we made a difference in Uruzgan province. Certainly the Uruzganis think so,” Mr Smith said.

Tickets are currently available from Bland Shire Council at the early bird cost of $20 per adult and $15 concession. Tickets will also be available at the door for $25 per adult and $20 concession.