Friday 2 June, 7pm
Duration: Approx. 2 hours, plus interval. Drinks at the bar

Venue: Newstead Community Centre, 9 Lyons Street, Newstead

Great songs, vivid images and some cheeky Aussie humour combine to offer a vivid account of Australia’s Afghanistan story told through the eyes of someone who was there.

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Full $40; Youth 18 & under $25
+ booking fee

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Recommended for audiences 15+ years. Note: this performance includes occasional rude language, some bawdy humour, and stories and imagery from the Afghanistan war, including the evacuation of Kabul airport. Please consider whether this would be uncomfortable for you or family members

An extraordinary song cycle on Australia’s 20-year involvement in Afghanistan

Fred Smith and band present Sparrows of Kabul live at Newstead Community Centre, Friday 2 June 7pm. Recommended for audiences 15+ years.

Brought to you by the Newstead Arts Hub and Newstead Live.

This project is proudly supported by the Australian Government through the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund, by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria and through Regional Arts Victoria.

Fred was there at the beginning in Uruzgan Province and returned at the end working from Kabul International Airport (KIA) on the difficult evacuation. His epitaph for the mission is ‘it was what it was’, and we are left with an admiration for the work of our soldiers and for the courage and tenacity of thousands of Afghans who braved the human logjams outside the gates of Kabul International Airport in a last-ditch dash for freedom.

The concert will begin with songs from Fred’s acclaimed Dust of Uruzgan album which draws on his experiences working alongside Australian soldiers in southern Afghanistan. It will culminate with material he wrote after working on the dramatic evacuation from Kabul in August 2021.

Fred Smith was the first Australian diplomat to be sent to work alongside Australian soldiers in Uruzgan Province in 2009 and a last to leave in 2013. While there he wrote songs about his experience and put on regular concerts on the base with bands made up of Aussie, US and Dutch soldiers as well as Afghan interpreters.

Returning to Australia, he recorded these songs on an album Dust of Uruzgan. In 2020, Smith went back to Afghanistan to work in the Australian Embassy in Kabul. As Kabul fell under Taliban control, he found himself working from Kabul International Airport (KIA) on Australia’s mission to evacuate passport and visa holders.

About Fred Smith

‘Fred Smith is simply the best folk/country musician working in this country…beyond writing some of the finest songs about Australians at war, he has created a repertoire that is wry, literate, witty, powerfully emotional and insightful.’ (Bruce Elder, SMH).

Fred Smith’s songs get you laughing, thinking and feeling. Supported by Australia’s most sensitive accompanists, he consistently offers performances rich in humour and depth. His song-cycles have become important historical documents bringing to life the human complexities of the countries he has worked in: PNG, the US and most recently Afghanistan.

Fred is the subject of an Australian Story documentary about his work in Afghanistan and on peace keeping operations in the war-torn islands of the South Pacific. The title track from his acclaimed album, Dust of Uruzgan, was covered by country music star Lee Kernaghan.

His book, The Dust of Uruzgan, published by Allen and Unwin in 2016, was described by Channel 10 Political Editor Hugh Riminton as ‘as convincing a picture as we will ever have of the tragedy, hope, oddness and courage of Australia’s Uruzgan enterprise… an astonishingly vibrant piece of reportage from the heart of our longest war.’