Ronnie: Tasmanian Songman is the heartwarming story of musician, storyteller and craftsman, Ronnie Summers as he recalls the freedom of growing up Cape Barren Island and how the music passed on by his uncles and the island's old fellas has shaped his life.
Ronnie draws on a childhood working the mutton-bird islands, a 'kangaroo court' [[#1 The colloquial phrase "kangaroo court" is used to describe judicial proceedings that deny due process rights in the name of expediency.]] prison term as a bewildered teenager, and then turning to alcohol after the death of his baby son.
It wasn't until later in life that he discovered he was part of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community. At last, guided by the power of his ancestry, he was able to turn his life around. Born an 'Islander'—not Aboriginal, not white—he had been without race.
Ronnie: Tasmanian Songman documents his struggle for a place in his own country, and echoes and amplifies that of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community.
The book includes a CD featuring the music of Cape Barren Island - a unique blend of Cajun, Blues, Country & Folk now recognised as a rare example of Australian musical folklore.
A defining piece of Indigenous culture and literature and music all between two covers, it is essentially a Tasmanian book through and through, it is a wonderful book. — Bob Brown, Senator of Tasmania