For the sake of a song

Yerre Ka-bindja-maka Ka-mi

CD 1, Track 14

TRACK 14 (Mar88-05-s11) Song 11: Yerre Ka-bindja-maka Ka-mi

                   
Sung text  Free translation 
(Vocal section 1) 
yerre  Yerre 
ka-bindja-maka ka-mi  He was singing 
ii  Ii 
nye-bindja nya-mu-ngarrka nn  You sing it for me, nn 
(Vocal section 2-3) 
yerre  Yerre 
nye-bindja nya-mu-ngarrka nn  You sing it for me, nn 
ii  Ii 
ka-bindja-maka ka-mi  He was singing 

This song is unusual in two respects. First of all, the song-giving ghost seems to be referring to a third person, perhaps another singer present in the dream. Some doubt remains, because the high degree of nasalisation in the vocal production when singing makes it difficult to distinguish between the first and third person forms of the verb –mi ‘to sit’ (nga-mi versus ka-mi). Nevertheless, we have regularly been given the translation ‘he sings’ rather than ‘I sing’ for vocal section 1. Secondly, in vocal sections 2 and 3 the singers reverse the order of the two text phrases from that occurring in vocal section 1. The significance (if any) of this shift from ‘he was singing it, you sing it for me’ to ‘you sing it for me, he was singing it’ is unclear. At the beginning of the third vocal section Barrtjap gives a high call (representing the voice of the Wunymalang ghost) while the backup singer, Lambudju, continues to sing the text.

Song structure summary

VOCAL SECTION 1

Melodic section 1

Text phrase 1

Rhythmic mode 5c (fast uneven quadruple)

   
yerre 
SW 

Yerre

Text phrase 2

Rhythmic mode 5c (fast uneven quadruple)

   
ka  -bindja  -maka  ka  -mi  nn 
3MIN.S  sing  PERF  3MIN.S  sit  SW 

He was singing

Melodic section 2

Text phrase 3

Rhythmic mode 5c (fast uneven quadruple)

   
ii 
SW 

Ii

Text phrase 4

Rhythmic mode 5c (fast uneven quadruple)

   
nye  -bindja  nya  -mu  -ngarrka  nn 
2MIN.IR  sing   2MIN.IR  sit IR  1MIN.IO  SW 

You sing it for me, nn

INSTRUMENTAL SECTION 1

Rhythmic mode 5c (fast uneven quadruple)

VOCAL SECTIONS 2-3

Melodic section 1

Text phrase 1

Rhythmic mode 5c (fast uneven quadruple)

   
yerre 
SW 

Yerre

Text phrase 2

Rhythmic mode 5c (fast uneven quadruple)

   
nye  -bindja  nya  -mu  -ngarrka  nn 
2MIN.IR  sing   2MIN.IR  sit IR  1MIN.IO  SW 

You sing it for me, nn

Melodic section 2

Text phrase 3

Rhythmic mode 5c (fast uneven quadruple)

   
ii 
SW 

Ii

Text phrase 4

Rhythmic mode 5c (fast uneven quadruple)

   
ka  -bindja  -maka  ka  -mi 
3MIN.S  sing  PERF  3MIN.S  sit 

He was singing

INSTRUMENTAL SECTIONS 2-3

Rhythmic mode 5c (fast uneven quadruple)

CODA

Rhythmic mode 5c (fast uneven quadruple)

yit ngayi ngayi yit ngowe …