Cassar-Daley fans will instantly recognise this one – that’s because it’s an adaptation of his original track, ‘Shadows On The Hill’. As Cassar-Daley explains: “‘Shadows On The Hill’ started its song line around a fire on Gumbaynggirr country at our men’s camp.
“There was one powerful moment for all of us when a massacre was mentioned that happened up the river from where we camped with our families for many generations, the wind died down, the air around us was still and not one bird sang.
“My old uncle stood up and said, ‘Don’t be scared the old people know we are here; they are just letting us know’. The trees on the mountains across the river from us stood long and lonely.
“I believe the old people gave me this song to acknowledge the pain and to share one of the many brutal stories of this land and more importantly to share the truth.
“Because song lines never end and make their way through thousands of generations, I shared the song with Briggs so the next generation can hear the story of the ‘Shadows On The Hill’.”
The two artists have merged on ‘Shadows’ to make a poignant statement of acknowledgment on a part of this country’s history that has been historically ignored and unjustly overlooked.
“‘Shadows’ was brought to me by Troy; I was honoured he’d share this part of his story with me. There was so much depth and this haunting truth that is woven through his words,” said Briggs.
“As a kid I’d often remember rumours about what parts of Melbourne were old ‘graveyards.’ Which I guess is a way to explain a massacre site or to reconcile it for young ears. Where the bodies dropped, they built a fuckin’ parking lot.
“Australia has a hard time acknowledging its truth. There’s a partial map of massacre sites in the artwork. It’s documented; it’s factual. The first war began in 1788. It had all the symptoms of a war. There were opposing nations, a clear objective of taking land, everything in it and the expansion of the Crown. Australia enjoys its cherry-picked history.
“Genocide isn’t just rifles. It’s in introducing dependency and then removing the care. It’s exclusion from the health care system, it’s exclusion from the economy and society. Governor Macquarie said, ‘Hang the natives from the tree to deter others.’ They named a Bank, University and many other streets and landmarks after him. People get cancelled for tweets in 2021, this guy still has a statue. Blackfullas personify survival. We embody the values of our culture; that’s what we carry.”
The song is set to feature in an upcoming two-part series on the ABC titled Going Country. Hosted by Justine Clarke, the series, which premieres on Tuesday, 2nd November, will travel to locations that have shaped, created and inspired some of this country’s most prominent country songs, and will dive deep into the artist’s that wrote them.
Listen to ‘Shadows’ below.