“In the folk tradition of Woody Guthrie, Les Thomas doesn’t simply sing a story about a stranger, he learns their story, helps give them a voice and uses the medium of music as advocacy. Currently a lot of people get named and promoted as the next great folk artist, but it is people like Les Thomas that keep the origins of folk forefathers alive and true.” — Lauren Duiker, The Orange Press
Les Thomas is a Melbourne-based singer-songwriter and activist who follows in the tradition of musical storytellers like Joe Hill, Woody Guthrie and Steve Earle. Noted for his passionate and engaged live performances, Les never hesitates to commit to the stories and people he sings about. As a stolen generations descendent via his mother’s side, music has proved to be an important pathway for reconnecting with his Aboriginality and cultural connection.
His debut single ‘Song for Selva’ is based on a letter from a Tamil asylum seeker who had been detained without charge for 37 months. After strong community radio support for the song in the first week after its release, Selva was removed from Broadmeadows detention centre into “community detention”.
The ‘Survivor’s Tale’ album was released on November 9, 2013 and has been described as “an incredible collection of songs” (Denise Hylands, 3RRR) with an exceptional line-up of musicians including Jeff Lang, Ashley Davies, The Stillsons and more.