In Australia, From Apology, a Hit Song Grows

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A song about racial reconciliation with the Aboriginal minority has become the fourth-biggest-selling recording in Australia, even though it is available only as a download from the Web.

The song, “From Little Things Big Things Grow,” begins with a recording of the words of Australia’s prime minister, Kevin Rudd, from his February apology for the country’s history of mistreatment of its indigenous peoples. “As prime minister, I am sorry,” Mr. Rudd says on the recording. “On behalf of the government, I am sorry.”

From Mr. Rudd’s words the song later moves on to these lyrics: “There are moments in the lives of nations where hope and history rhyme. Now’s one of those times. Let’s close the gap, and if we truly mean it, we can stare down our future and find we can see through those eyes. Let us not stand with those who deny.”

The song, which also takes lines from comments made by indigenous leaders after Mr. Rudd’s apology, combines hip-hop rhythms with more conventional instrumentation. It is a remake and rewording of a song written about 20 years ago to celebrate one of the most famous of Australia’s campaigns for racial equality, the drive for equal pay for indigenous farm workers.

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