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Two renegade songwriters, a well-travelled piano, a village full of talented bushfire survivors…and a song from the ashes.

What is the role of a songwriter, in a volatile world of drought, flood, and pandemic? As the climate shifts and human connection is tested and forged in the flames of natural disaster, what is the most that a song can do? Songwriters Grace and Hugh have put their backs into answering that question, heaving a half-tonne piano across Australia. Together they pen songs inspired by the true stories they encounter, and, uniquely, bring them to vibrant life with unheralded musicians they meet on location. 

The film Up Armidale Road emerged from the apocalyptic Australian bushfire season of 2019-20. The village of Nymboida was decimated by a hurricane of fire that left 200 out of its 300 residents homeless. Only weeks after the fire, the people of Nymboida welcomed Grace and Hugh (and their long-suffering piano) into their lives, sharing their stories of survival and recovery. 
The determined songwriters threw themselves into immortalising the stories of Nymboidans as only they could. Returning many times over the following year, Grace and Hugh wove together the lyrics and melody of the song ‘Up Armidale Road’, embarking on an ambitious musical collaboration with the community to bring the song to life on a shoe-string budget, full orchestra in tow, as the hills turned from black to green again.

What is the most that a song can do? Watch this film to find out.

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