The song written by Ireland’s Brendan Graham and composer Rolf Lovland is pivotal to a film that tells the story of the empowerment of women throughout the world.
You Raise Me Up, by Irish songwriter Brendan Graham and Norwegian composer, Rolf Lovland, has been chosen as the theme song for Shoulders, a new documentary on US Democratic Party presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton.
Shoulders is written and directed by EMMY winner and long-time Clinton friend, Linda Bloodworth Thomason and narrated by triple Academy Award winner, Meryl Streep. It focuses on the 250-year journey of American women and their struggle toward equality and social justice.
“Rolf and I have always been protective of ‘You Raise Me Up’ being used within the political arena or in a divisive way,” songwriter Brendan Graham said. “However, in seeking permission, Linda and her husband, Executive Producer Harry Thomason, were respectful both to the song and to the concept of intellectual property rights.
“Their film embodies the message of hope, acknowledgement and gratitude, a theme that is central to You Raise Me Up,” he added. “So, it is a privilege to see our work used in this positive and uplifting way, charting the lives of all these extraordinary women, who were exemplars to those who came after them.”
The documentary contains a segment on the Northern Ireland Peace Process, with Monica McWilliams, leader of Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition saying of Hillary Clinton’s involvement: “She talked about human rights and justice and the really important role that women make to peace-building. It really was setting the floor on which the rest of us could start to walk.”
Shoulders also features the story of Hillary Clinton’s mother, Dorothy Rodham. In spite of being born to sixteen-year-old parents and suffering an impoverished childhood, Mrs. Rodham went on to give birth to and raise the woman who is the first female nominee to be president of the United States.
The film illustrates how all people advance by being ‘raised up’ on the shoulders of others. In it, young female descendants of some of America’s most extraordinary women – aviation pioneer, Amelia Earhart; civil rights activist, Rosa Parks; First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt; astronaut, Sally Ride and triple Olympic Gold Medallist, Wilma Rudolph – hold up pictures of their famous ancestors, in tribute, as ‘You Raise Me Up’ plays.
The film has multiple performances of the remarkable song – by young Afghani women; by the women of a Senegalese village saved from drought; and, in a specially made new recording, by US singer-songwriter, Rama Duke.
Describing ‘You Raise Me Up’ as a deeply moving song, writer and director of Shoulders, Linda Bloodworth Thomason said: “There is no other piece of music that we feel even comes close to the spirit of the film.”
“As an Irish person I have always felt deeply grateful to what Bill and Hillary Clinton initiated – and then stuck with, on behalf of the American people, to bring peace and stability to our country,” Brendan Graham reflected.
‘”t was not an easy task, but with the Clintons, you never felt it was just ‘lip service’ or the ‘warm wishes’ of a friendly nation. Sleeves were rolled up and shoulders put to the wheel. They both were present and ‘on the ground’, throughout the process and I specifically remember a very powerful, impassioned and supportive speech, which Hillary Clinton made to the women of Northern Ireland.
“In the wider sense, it is an honour that ‘You Raise Me Up’ was chosen to be part of the narrative of these women and of Hillary Clinton. In these turbulent times, it is not just America but the world at large, which needs wise counsel and a steady hand at the wheel of Washington.”