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MEERTA - The Ballad of James Arden, David Arden

MEERTA - The Ballad of James Arden - Fifth Release EP Album 2023


To Our Ancestors Who Have Come Before Us, May They Walk With Us In The Present, Guiding Us Towards What Was Lost. Together With The Knowledge Of Our Ancestors, Planting The Seeds, For Our Future & The Next Generation.

MEERTA - Means "Rise Up" Is the Gunditjmara - Keerray Wooroong Languages Translation From Yoolongteeyt, Dr Vicki Couzens.


MEERTA – The Ballad of James Arden, powerful storytelling led by acclaimed singer-songwriter David Arden (Kokatha/Gunditjmara Songman).


MEERTA tells the story of David Arden’s Great Grandfather James Arden, and the Gunditjmara People, a story of identity, urban and tribal life, friendship, repatriation, racism, freedom and fighting for your rights. 


In 1916, his Great Grandfather James Arden, an activist, made a stand for Gunditjmara people, to fight for their rights, against the missionaries and the station manager who controlled the movement of the Gunditjmara people. He was a tribal man born on the lands of Gariwerd, where his lore, his dreaming, and his cultural ways and traditional country were important to his identity. He was taken from his country to Lake Condah and Framlingham missions. 


MEERTA is inspired by all those who have gone before on this ancestral land, along with David’s own life experiences, to help audiences understand past injustices & promote cultural understanding. As a talented songman David Arden is continuing his cultural responsibility, healing community and sharing culture through music. 


MEERTA – The Ballad of James Arden, is the title tracks, For his fifth EP album release the 5 songs from David Arden latest’s album, Tell's the stories of the Gunditjmara Peoples, Family, Identity, Friendship, Repatriation of Ancestral Remains, Racism, Freedom, Fight for Your Rights, Urban & Tribal Life. To maintain the cultural integrity of this work.

My passion in developing MEERTA was driven by listening to the stories of my elders and my own lived experience growing up feeling “the other” as a young Aboriginal man in Collingwood.  


This work speaks to the truth of this land and my people.” 



- Available now on all streaming platforms. 


Distributed by Noisehive:

Recorded at Harmonic Whale Studios –Melbourne:



  • VOCALS: David Arden

  • ELECTRIC GUITAR & MANDOLIN: Daniel Jauregui 

  • DRUMS: Lee Levin on All Tracks except for (Feeling lost)

  • DRUMS: Cat Canteri (Feeling lost)

  • ACOUSTIC GUITAR: David Arden, Daniel Jauregui

  • BASS: Daniel Jauregui (Nowhere to Go) ( MEERTA - The Ballad of James Arden) (I Was Always) (Feeling Lost)

  • BASS: Brad Brown (Nowhere to Go) & (Call It Out)

  • KEYBOARD: Dave Crowe (I Was Always)

  • KEYBOARD: Jake Amy (Call it Out & Meerta)

  • KEYBOARD: Charlie Bowmaker (MEERTA - The Ballad of James Arden)

  • KEYBOARD: Tom Lynch (Nowhere to Go) 

  • BACKING VOCALS: Emma Donovan, Daniel Jauregui, Deniece Hudson, David Arden.

  • BACKING VOCALS: Leoni Whyman, Paul Ah Chee, Monica McDonald, .

  • Produced and Recorded by: Daniel Jauregui at Recording Studio Harmonic Whale, Melbourne 

  • Co-Producer: David Arden

  • Music Arrangements by Daniel Jauregui and David Arden 

  • Supporting Studio: The Tiki Room, Pembroke Pines, Florida 

  • Recording Engineering: Daniel Jauregui, Lee Levin

  • Mixing Engineer: Daniel Jauregui, JK Almao

  • Mastering: JK Almao 

  • Cover Art; Original Painting by Nina & Shane Wright

  • Graphic Design: Dixon Patten, Cheryle Arden


SPECIAL THANKS TO:Jill Morgan & Violet Arden for their hard work making MEERTA possible and helping me to tell my Kokatha/Gunditjmara family stories to the world with me. 


MEERTA - Means "Rise Up" Is the Gunditjmara - And a big thanks to Keerray Wooroong Languages Translation From Yoolongteeyt, Dr Vicki Couzens.


To Daniel Jauregui for taking on a journey through cultural ways of doing things and bringing our two cultural ways together through MEERTA Rise Up! The Ballad of James Arden. 


To the beautiful creative musicians, vocalist & engineers that performed on the album: Emma Donovan, Daniel Jauregui, Deniece Hudson, Brad Brown, Monica McDonald, Leonie Whyman, Paul Ah Chee, JK Almao, Lee Levin, Cat Canteri, Charlie Bowmaker, Dave Crowe, Jake Amy & Tom Lynch, I thank you very much. 


A very special thanks to the funders and supporters of MEERTA: Creative Victoria, Yirramboi Festival & City of Melbourne, Australia Council for the Arts, Harmonic Whale, University of Melbourne – Wilin Centre.  


THIS ALBUM IS DEDICATED to the late Uncle Archie Roach & to my little brother Wallace Amos Arden Jnr for the memories and journey we shared together & to my cousin-sister Diana Nikkelson.


All Meerta songs composed by David Arden except for No Where to Go composed by Archie Roach for the Northland Campaign to save Northland Secondary College.



1.     MEERTA - The Ballad of James Arden  

2.     I Was Always

3.     Call It Out

4.     Feeling Lost

5.     Nowhere To Go (composed by Archie Roach)


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