I hear a mother crying in the wind, never gonna be the same
These tears keep on falling
Across this sacred ground, there's whispers in the tree
We hear those ancestors calling, let them wrap their arms around you
Let them wrap their arms around you, Elijah
These are the touching words written in honour of Elijah Doughty.
The soulful, rich tones of revered artist Archie Roach first fill the air.
"The song is a prayer for Elijah that his journey into the Dreaming is guided by the ancestors and that our love will encompass his family through this time of mourning," Mr Roach says.
Mr Roach and nine other respected musicians have joined forces to dedicate a song to 14-year-old Elijah, who was fatally run over in Kalgoorlie, in Western Australia's Goldfields, in August last year. Now, in an exclusive to NITV News, the artists have premiered their film clip
Singer songwriter Kutcha Edwards initiated the process for the song to be written. He says 'Song for Elijah (Wrap Our Arms Around You)' is a message from the Dreaming.
"This is one of the most profound projects I've done in my life. There's a spirit in the wind that's guiding us, and he [Elijah] wants to be heard through the songline," Mr Edwards told NITV.
He says he felt compelled to do something to ensure Elijah's legacy was not lost.
“We as singer/songwriters have a voice and in times like this I think we need to use it and give hope to those who think that all hope is lost. The journey to create a ripple for change started with the callout, so many amazing people came on board and over a six-week period 'Song for Elijah' was conceived,” he says.
The track is a dedication to young Elijah whose love of animals, footy and natural knack for bush mechanics is deeply missed in his community.
His death ignited protests and vigils across the country after the man, who was driving the car that killed Elijah, was found not guilty of manslaughter. Instead, he was found guilty of the lesser charge of dangerous driving occasioning death.
Since his death, Elijah's mother has appealed for an end to racial visions in Australia. This sparked a call to the collective consciousness of the Australian music industry.
But Mr Edwards says he doesn't want to politicise the fight.
"This is more for us as singer/songwritiers to give that emotional and spritual support to the family knowing that their precious little boy has gone to that special place, that we all know we're destined for. It's our job."
The song takes listeners on an emotional journey heard in the pain of Archie's opening, the lingering questions of Tjimba Possum Burns and the strong statements of anti-discrimination by Radical Son.
The urgency heard in the shared verse between Kutcha Edwards and Emma Donovan lends a powerful sense of spirit and resilience. Illana Atkinson’s haunting exclamation 'You hurt one, You hurt us all...' is the essence of the collective collaboration, while David Bridie, James Henry, Jida Gulplil, Nao Anzai and Brendan Gallagher all bring pieces of themselves to contribute strength in harmony.
Music veteran David Bridie says working on the song came with important conviction.
"Every moment of working on “Song for Elijah” felt right, felt strong, [and] had such a strong sense of spirit and purpose. All the singers who came round brought something of themselves to the table. It was a great collaborative project, with love,” he says.
The song itself bounds across culture, generation, and time and coincides with UN Human Rights Day on Sunday 10 December.
All proceeds from the purchase of Song For Elijah will go towards supporting Elijah's family.
"The more people who purchase the single, it supports the family. They're still struggling there and all we can do is talk the talk in the east. But we're not livng in Kalgoorlie, imagine living there and the dynamic, everything they do reminds them of Elijah."