When young Indigenous guitarist Elijah Augustine first came into Artful Dodgers Studios, you would be lucky to get a word out of him.
Thanks to weekly songwriting sessions, ongoing performances at the studio’s Megaphone events and engagement with other studio participants, Elijah has found his voice.
“I didn’t say much when I first started at The Dodgers. I was the Quiet Man.”
As we celebrate this year’s NAIDOC (National Aboriginal and Islanders Day Committee) week, we highlight the growth of Elijah, who is a Nyul-Nyul, Jabirr-Jabirr and Ngumbarl Saltwater man whose mob hail from Broome in Western Australia.
“Somebody told me the studio run by Jesuit Social Services would be a great fit for me as they would help me with my music. They were right.”
Elijah enjoys writing both political and fun rock and roll songs.
“My Dad was a big land rights activist in the North of Australia and the inspiration behind my song My Land. I have spent time up around Broome visiting my mob there.
“I also enjoy writing simple fun rock and roll songs like Woke Up at Seven and Let’s Dance.”
With his newfound confidence, Elijah has found paid work with the St Kilda Festival, Monash University and at Jesuit Social Services’ ‘Sorry Day’ events.
He has also rocked out as frontman with the Bourke And Beyond Band and now has his own weekly hard rock radio show on local Indigenous station 3KND every Thursday night.
Elijah has also appeared with veteran indigenous band Coloured Stone and much respected elder musicians Selwyn Burns and Bunna Lawrie.
Artful Dodgers Studios’ producer Jesse Sullivan says “It’s been great working with Elijah. He takes his music very seriously and has grown into being a wonderful performer full of personality”.
For Elijah, participating in Artful Dodgers has been transformational. “I have gained a lot of confidence working with Jesse, and I also really like the Artful Dodgers team. They make me feel like I’m one of the family.”